Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Social Interpretation of History?

 In continuation of the earlier blog and following the general consensus that this discussion ought to move to the LJA blog I thought it is best to plant some small seeds without drying them well!

It is important to emphasize that the 'demand' for choice of caste and ' castelessness of sants, women and children' is voiced under a system ( prevalent in the immediate past ) which is using the instrument of reservation to perpetuate rule of a oligarchic democracy, to create agents of power ( read representatives, bargaining agents, laisoning officers for interest groups, lawyers and pundits who interpret the books,...) under a dominant patriarchy based on ownership and inheritance. And what is its real basis? The life span division is,as we saw elsewhere, the natural order. It is only the establishment of choice itself that demands explanation. And one needs to go to the basics, before the establishment of the order. It is primarily two things

1. The knowledge conveyed through poetry, arts and literature portraying the prehistory and oral history, the story of continuous  displacement and the practice of dealing with the vanquished/conquered as lower class and service people - kings stripped of powers...becoming a ' woodcutter at the cremation ghat' , landlords becoming agricultural labourers, nobility becoming slaves, sisters and wives huddled into dungeons of vice and debauchery of the winners, and so on - called the mythology by modern man. And the knowledge of this process is 'ordinary knowledge' with in lokavidya. That is, lokavidya has a knowledge not only of survival under the forces of nature, but also of history of displacement and evolution of caste divisions, the origin of strands of sant parampara - one chela following the guru, another establishing a new order- lokavidya does not take sides.

In short, there is an alternative interpretation of history at work, more real than what economists created in the context of industrial revolutions. And lokavidya considers this to be the natural order arising from the human nature, such that exemplary order and creative pursuits are deliberate actions of the mind - like the sculpting of Lord Gomanteswara at Sravanabelagola - incomprehensible. And having known the 'true history' of the people in its imagination it is voicing in the social realm what constituencies and reservations did (and continues to do) in the economic realm.

2. Is its inherent lack of future-orientation in the sense of the developmental democracy or economy driven systems. In the urban developmental imagination what is the orientation of future, what is the driving force corresponding to the construction and reconstruction of order we encountered in lokavidya? Nothing! people see nothing except themselves, a stronger form of themselves, a clone of the prevailing order, just like humans see their children - just the same. To see future in children only the sants can do- the sants in the lokavidya parampara. Thus we are instead imagining a society in which the humans beings are humbly reflecting on the thoughts yet to be discovered tomorrow, the accomplishments of the future generations , their children's goals, their gods, the possibilities which escape them now, ... not the replication of the forgotten or possibly untrue!

So, to some extent at least, it is these two aspects, which one may call the meta-knowledge of lokavidya, which must be exemplified to visualize the dynamics in the social route to human liberation.  That is, it is as if, just as the economic interpretation of history has been leading thought behind liberation wars and democracy, there lies within the lokavidya another interpretation of history - which we may name the 'social interpretation of history'. In categorical terms, while the former interpretation is seen as capital centric, this one is human centric. It is to be seen if this will become an important ingredient in the  mobilization of the new opinion and the 'truth' in the new political imagination. There are a number of questions the samaj asks itself and perhaps among them is - Who are we?

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