<SiteLock

The revival of 'public conscience'

 

Dr. Bhushan Amol Darkase

2

The survival of Indian democracy depends on the revival of 'public conscience' which Dr. Ambedkar explained as, 'Conscience which becomes agitated at every wrong, no matter who is the sufferer, and it means that everybody, whether he suffers that particular wrong or not, is prepared to join him in order to get him relieved.'

Similarly, John Rawls in his concept of the 'Veil of ignorance', said that behind 'the Veil of ignorance, are we ready to choose similar consequences for ourselves as we wish for others, specifically for minorities, if we find ourselves in the minority?

The notion here is that if someone is in the majority that does not mean freedom to tyrannise those in the minority. In the article "Helping a Victim or Helping the Victim: Altruism and Identifiability," Deborah Small and George Lowenstein, in their discussion and conclusion, quoted Wiener, that "Victims are victims because they are not responsible for their situation and thus evoke sympathy and pity."

But, if a person is considered responsible for his adverse situations, the resulting emotions might instead be anger and disgust. Resentment follows the belief that another person 'could and should have done otherwise,' and the feeling diminishes our inclination to help this person.

The belief that the victim 'could and should have done otherwise' in a country of religious fanatics is reduced to the narrowmindedness that says minorities must conform to the majoritarian shared beliefs and prejudices, and must not do otherwise than what the majority demands from them.

In his book 'How fascism works' Joseph Stanley explains that psychologists have studied a practice they call 'Linguistic intergroup bias.' It turns out we tend to describe the actions of those we regard as one of 'us' quite differently from the actions of those we see as one of 'them.' Categorizing someone as 'them' and describing their actions from the 'them perspective' leads to identifying a person or group as 'them' and the one who 'could and should have done otherwise.'

India is infected by this 'us and them' perspective leading to criminalizing the minorities and the depressed, who 'could and should have done otherwise,' which is sharing the majoritarian beliefs and prejudices, and not doing so qualifies for anger and disgust. This perspective of 'them' attaches a different objective value to the minorities and the depressed. In the book 'Myanmar's Enemy Within' writer Francis Wade explained the horror of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar with the gripping notion that "It begins quietly, long before and not with an act but with a concept- that these people are not one of us. If that idea takes root, then anything can grow."

However, nobody has explained the disregard for the value of human beings more explicitly than Rohith Vemula in his last letter where he says, "The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living."

Categorizing people from the perspective of 'them' and reducing their identity to its nearest possibility of ethnic, religious, caste, or gender-based identity is a serious psychological concern.

In the book 'Votes and Violence', Steven Wilkinson offers the fascinating fact that "Individuals have many ethnic and non-ethnic identities with which they might identify politically. The challenge for politicians is to try to ensure that the identity that favors their party is the one that is most salient in the minds of a majority of voters." Brahmanism is the most salient identity enforced by the current government and its ideological think tank RSS.

 This metastasized poison of discrimination in the identification of a person has paralyzed the psyche of the masses. Reduction of 'just behavior' to the narrowness of what the majority demands from you to live a particular way of life that conforms to their shared beliefs and prejudices is a metamorphosis of the questionable majoritarian rule in a democracy to a system of domination.

Untangled association of religion with morality and internalization of domination or unconscious imbibition, giving genesis to the intolerant external behavior poses a grave danger to the very ideology of morality in the Indian social context.

History is represented in a twisted way favoring those in power positions—manufacturing their superiority myth. Retrospective reinterpretation of facts to create a myth that helps to cover up reality is resorted to. Masses are swamped with mythologies that represent false history. The most dangerous part is that these fabricated histories are described as facts illustrating unparalleled moral values, expressed as ideals that one must pursue. Institutionalized ritualistic reproduction legitimizes these fabricated histories, with their biased narratives; false history is fetishized, and the invisible whim of the majority smothers the truth. It makes us too docile to realize that it's a myth.

Pointing fingers at others for the origin of evil does not glorify the murkiness of our present. Nevertheless, our will to correct and compensate those injustices by advancing justice through deliberation is what matters the most.

Amartya Sen, explains in his book "The idea of justice" that "Assessment of justice demands engagement with the 'eyes of mankind,' first because we may variously identify with the others elsewhere and not just with our local community; second, because our choices and actions may affect the lives of others far as well as near; and third because what they see from their respective perspectives of history and geography may help us to overcome our parochialism."

In Sen's own words, "We do not live in secluded cocoons of our own."
Indian politics and society at present is the very representation of the human being in Hobbesian terms, that 'man is a wolf of a man.'

 We want Rossoue's 'sensitive human being', who is not only rational but sensitive to rationality. What we are lacking is Buddha's, 'Mahakaruna'.

~~~

 

Dr. Bhushan Amol Darkase is an Assistant professor in VDGMC Latur and is an M.D. Dermatology, Fellowship in Diagnostic Dermatology.

Other Related Articles

The making of the Indian Constitution- Excerpts from the Constituent Assembly debates
Wednesday, 01 December 2021
  Dr Jas Simran Kehal The constitution is apparently revered but it is not celebrated- Stephen M. Griffin. Constitution is not a mere lawyer's document, it is a vehicle of life, and its spirit... Read More...
Jayanti: The Roaring Story of Oppressed Unity and Transformation
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
   Vicky Nandgaye, Manoj Meshram Prelude: Central Theme and Cast of the Movie Recently a Marathi movie 'Jayanti' was released on the big screen in Maharashtra. Jayanti is a Marathi word... Read More...
Jayanti: A celebration of Bahujan history and autonomy
Sunday, 28 November 2021
  JS Vinay The recently released Marathi movie 'Jayanti' is creating waves in the Marathi circles. Based on my understanding , I will try to share some points (not in order of preference) as a... Read More...
The caste view of 'saffron dollars'
Saturday, 27 November 2021
  Dr. Bhushan Amol Darkase "If anyone throws his glance at the Indian physical and social world as a spectator, he will undoubtedly find this country a home of glaring inequality." -Dr Ambedkar... Read More...
Buddhist Sangha — an embodiment of gender neutrality
Wednesday, 24 November 2021
  Dr Amritpal Kaur  When an ideology for restructuring of human nature and society becomes a religious cult, it not only loses its spirit of rationality and political relevance and its... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Govt. of India should send One Lakh SC ST youths abroad for Higher Education
Monday, 21 June 2021
  Anshul Kumar Men sitting on the pinnacle of the palace "So, I went one day to Linlithgow and said, concerning the expense of education, "If you will not get angry, I want to ask a question. I... Read More...
Reflections On Contemporary Navayana Buddhism - Context, Debates and Theories
Tuesday, 10 August 2021
  The Shared Mirror    PRE RELEASE COPY Reflections on Contemporary Navayāna Buddhism Context, Debates and Theories     Shaileshkumar Darokar Subodh Wasnik bodhi s.r ... Read More...
Conceiving a New Public: Ambedkar on Universities
Saturday, 26 June 2021
Asha Singh & Nidhin Donald Dr. B.R. Ambedkar conceptualizes education as a ‘vital need’ which helps us fight notions of ‘inescapable fate’ or ‘ascriptions of caste or religion’. He... Read More...
Caste management through feminism in India
Friday, 06 August 2021
Kanika S There was a time some 5-6 years ago when feminism tried to undermine Dr Ambedkar by pointing out that he carried a penis.1 Now he is just as fantastically a carrier of feminist ideals... Read More...
Rainbow casteism and racism in the queer community is alienating us
Monday, 28 June 2021
  Sophia I entered the Delhi queer movement in my early 20s, as a complete outsider in terms of language, origin, race, class, and caste identity. I wanted to bring change to the status quo and... Read More...