What Identity Politics Means to Me!

 

Anshul Kumar

anshulIf one were to attempt to comprehend Plato and Descartes' philosophical thoughts one thing that is worth acknowledging is that religions of the world associate people with either immaterial souls or pure egos. From this perspective, people have bodies only contingently, not necessarily, so they can live after bodily death.

 Etymologically identity comes from latin 'identitas' meaning 'sameness'.

Who is doing identity politics? What if I say that this form of doing politics is proving to be dangerous for the humankind? Is it making evil even more banal?(Arendt). Can't we refrain from doing such a politics which is creating divisions? (See links below)

Religion, Politics and one's Social Identity are extremely intertwined. However hard you try to remain apolitical, agnostic, atheist or liberal in your approach towards life, you will always be judged by the aforementioned trio which defines human existence. The only respite from not getting trapped in such identities is if you are born a white male or a brahmin or into a family of dominant caste or race or ethnicity. Then if you are liberal in your leanings, you will be hailed as a champion of human rights and values. A vanguard sent from heaven to unite human race as a whole by setting aside all the differences based upon racial, ethnic, gender or caste based identities. It is like closing your eyes and expecting the world to turn completely dark. Sadly, this is not the way the cosmos functions. This utopian lollipop of syncretism is first of all not as sweet as it is professed to be. Even if it comes out sweet, it will be too diabetic for humankind and then the only 'insulin' will be the politics of the oppressed, marginalised and the persecuted. Unlike the earth as it is perceived by humans there are no dichotomies or binaries defining the naturality of our entire cosmos.

Only humans have created the binaries of black and white, modernism and conservatism. Binaries can never define us as what the cosmos has made us to be. Same goes for identity politics. It is a fallacious argument that believing in one's identity leads to hatred among groups with varying interests. While those who are privileged enough to be getting undue advantages from their social status might see identity politics as debilitating but then this is how privilege works. You are privileged enough to not even care or observe that you have privileges. Instead those who have identity which is accepted with no less scorn and contempt are extremely vulnerable to pay the price of being assertive. The apocryphal statement of Karl Marx which is often quoted by aspiring 'sociologists' of half baked intellect is, "Religion is the opium of the people". Marx in his 'A contribution to the critique of Hegel's Philosophy of right' says that, "Religious suffering is at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creatures, the heart of the heartless world, and  the soul of the soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." The waters of the mighty oceans of the earth appear blue apparently but colourless it is. Identity politics is seen as pernicious by those who are at a stage where they are bound to lose all their dominance and hegemony over the masses.For the oppressed, the marginalised and the persecuted masses it is a pertinent question of to be or not to be. Identity politics is the need of the hour. 

~People should at least ponder over as to who all are really doing identity politics and who are not?

~We cannot define Identity Politics from the perspective of those who are devouring the masses off their identity!

~Is Identity Politics responsible for creating a deep chasm of ethnic, racial or caste enmities and divisions among the humans?

~Something we all should accept is that 'Modus Vivendi' of Secularism should not be accepted the way it is being done.

~~

Links

Labelling the Dalit movement as identity politics is a major contradiction by Jay Prakash Faqir

Stop Calling it 'Identity Politics'-It's Civil Rights Marcus H Johnson  

Reverse Racism Aamer Rahman 

Class and identity politics are not mutually exclusive. The left should use this to its benefit Jeff Sparrow  

The Identity Politics of Whiteness Laila Lalami    

Identity Politics And Rumors Of Its Death Are Premature Rev Al Sharpton 

Who? Me? Casteist? Vivek Singh

~~~

Anshul Kumar is doing his First Year Bachelor in Arts at St Xavier's College, Mumbai. Originally from Delhi, his subjects here are Sociology, Ancient Indian Culture and Anthropology. He says he is a beginner in being an "Ambedkarite", he aims to be an academic and teach sociology. 

 

Other Related Articles

Maharashtra government loots SC/ST Sub-Plan funds again
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
  Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan Atrocity Helpline +91-20-69101111 Diwali is celebrated by giving gifts to others, but Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister, Maharashtra is setting a new trend of... Read More...
Zambian farmers win against Vedanta in UK
Sunday, 15 October 2017
  Foil Vedanta Victory for Polluted Zambian Farmers Suing Vedanta in UK Judges today threw out Vedanta's appeal to the May 2016 High Court judgment allowing Zambian farmers to have their case... Read More...
Social Smuggling: Prof. Kancha IIaiah Shepherd's mirror to society
Friday, 13 October 2017
  Raju Chalwadi Prof. Kancha IIaiah Shepherd is a renowned political scientist and an anti-caste activist. He is one of the fiercest critics of the Hindu social order and caste system in present... Read More...
An urban adivasi’s perspective on Newton
Thursday, 12 October 2017
  Nolina Minj India's official entry to the Oscars, Newton has done well for itself in the box-office. Critics have described it as 'brilliant, subversive and one of the finest political satires... Read More...
Chalo Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar!
Thursday, 12 October 2017
  Ambedkarite Students of Mumbai We, Ambedkarite students from Mumbai, strongly condemn the attacks and threat on the life of Prof. Kancha Ilaiah, a highly respected intellectual and scholar of... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Index of Articles in Features
Sunday, 30 July 2017
  2017 ~ Crossing Caste Boundaries: Bahujan Representation in the Indian Women's Cricket Team by Sukanya Shantha ~ Dalit University: do we need it? by Vikas Bagde ~ The beautiful feeling of... Read More...
Why Not Janeu Under My Kurta?
Wednesday, 09 August 2017
  Rahmath EP Lipstick Under My Burkha is a ‘by the Brahmin for the Brahmin' movie to propagate the Savarna definition of the ‘oppressed women’. The whole movie gives you a clear picture of... Read More...
Gandhi's Caste and Guha's Upper Caste Identity Politics
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
  Nidhin Shobhana In today's editorial page of Indian Express, Ramachandra Guha has written an essay by the title 'Does Gandhi have a Caste?'[1] In the essay, Guha tries really hard to establish... Read More...
No Mr. Tharoor, I Don’t Want to Enter Your Kitchen
Saturday, 16 September 2017
Tejaswini Tabhane Shashi Tharoor is an author, politician and former international civil servant who is also a Member of Parliament representing the constituency of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This... Read More...
Archiving the Complex Genealogies of Caste and Sexuality: An Interview with Dr. Anjali Arondekar
Saturday, 10 June 2017
  Anjali Arondekar This interview emerged as a series of email exchanges between Rohan Arthur and Dr. Anjali Arondekar who works on the Gomantak Maratha Samaj archives, following Rohan's... Read More...