सर्वहाराकरण की तेज होती प्रक्रिया के कारण उभरतीं दमित उत्कंठाओं को फासीवाद इस रूप में अभिव्यक्ति देकर संघटित करता है कि वे उन सामाजिक-आर्थिक और संपत्ति संबंधों के लिए खतरा न बन पाएँ जो उस प्रक्रिया और उसकी उत्कंठाओं को जन्म देते हैं । फासीवाद उन उत्कंठाओं को उनके तात्कालिक प्रतिक्रियात्मक स्तर और रूप में ही व्यक्त करने का साधन प्रदान करता है, ताकि राजनीतिकता और आर्थिकता के पार्थक्य से जो राजसत्ता पैदा होती है उसक़े पुनरुत्पादन में आम रोष के कारण रोध पैदा न हो सके। नवउदारवादी अर्थतन्त्रीय अवस्था – पूंजी के वित्तीयकरण, उत्पादन के सूचनाकरण और श्रम के अनौपचारीकरण – ने फासीवाद के इस गुण को अलग स्तर पर पहुँचा दिया है, उसको तीव्रता और व्यापकता दे दी है। अब फासीकरण (fascisation) के साधन के लिए खुली राजनीतिक तानाशाही केवल एक आपातकालिक विकल्प है। फासीवाद आज सामाजिक प्रक्रिया का रूप धारण कर पूंजीवाद की वर्तमान अवस्था की दैनिक सामाजिकता और प्रतिनिधत्ववादी औपचारिक जनतंत्र की आंतरिकता में समाहित हो गई है। और इस प्रक्रिया के चलन और संचालन के लिए अब फासीवादियों की ज़रूरत नहीं है। कोरोना के वक्त की भाषा में बोलें तो फासीवाद का आज कम्युनिटी ट्रांसमिशन हो गया है।
नई राष्ट्रीय शिक्षा नीति 2020 को शिक्षा नीति न कह कर शैक्षणिक औद्योगिक नीति कहना उचित रहेगा।
1984-85 में भारतीय राजसत्ता ने बताया कि पूंजीवाद में शिक्षा (मानव) संसाधन के विकास का एक जरिया है। उसका काम अलग-अलग स्तरों के श्रम संसाधनों की तैयारी करना है। इसी कारण से राजीव गांधी ने मंत्रालय का नाम बदल दिया था ।
2020 में राजसत्ता आपको समझा रही है कि इस तैयारी को करने के लिए शिक्षा का व्यवस्थित औद्योगिकीकरण करना होगा। इसी कारण से अब वह फिर से मंत्रालय को शिक्षा मंत्रालय नाम दे रही है ताकि कोई दुविधा न रहे। मगर हम अब भी भ्रम पाले हुए हैं कि शिक्षा चिंतक बनाती है।
ऐतिहासिक तौर पर भी हम देखें तो पूंजीवाद ने शिक्षण व्यवस्था को इसी रूप में अपने आविर्भाव के पश्चात ढाला था जिससे कि एक तरफ श्रम बाजार के लिए अलग अलग स्तरों के श्रमिकों का रिज़र्व तैयार हो सके; और, दूसरी तरफ उपयोगी ज्ञान का उत्पादन हो सके, जो कि श्रम की उत्पादकता बढ़ाने हेतु तकनीकों (वैज्ञानिक-तकनीक और प्रबंधनात्मक-तकनीक) और मशीनों के निर्माण में मदद करे।
इसके साथ साथ शिक्षा का उपयोग सामाजिक-राजनीतिक प्रबंधन-तकनीक और प्रतिस्पर्धात्मक इडियोलॉजियाँ (विचारधाराएं) पैदा करने में होता है। विज्ञान के साथ-साथ मानविकी, समाजशास्त्र, मनोविज्ञान आदि विषय हमारे लिए बँटे हैं, परन्तु पूंजी अपने अनुसार उन सब को बांध कर उपयोगी बनाता है।
शिक्षा के प्रथम कार्य को मार्क्सवादी परिभाषा में श्रम-शक्ति के पुनरुत्पादन का अंग माना गया है। अभी तक इस पुनरुत्पादन प्रक्रिया का अधिकांश हिस्सा बाज़ार से बाहर पारिवारिक और सामाजिक स्तर पर रखा जाता था। शिक्षा के कई स्तरों को सरकारें अपने हाथ मे रखती थीं और इसी कारण सामान्य पूंजीवादी संचयन प्रक्रिया से वे बाहर या स्वायत्त दिखते थे। मगर तब भी श्रम बाज़ार से शिक्षा का गहरा रिश्ता था। और शायद यह कहना गलत नहीं होगा कि केवल प्रबंधन ही पब्लिक या सरकारी था, और इसकी मूल वजह थी कि पुनरुत्पादन के इतने बड़े कर्त्तव्य को बाजारू अराजकता पर नहीं छोड़ा जा सकता था।
परंतु एक ओर वित्तीयकृत पूंजी लगातार अस्सी के दशक से पूंजीवादी विस्तार के लिए पुनरुत्पादन की परिधि (रिप्रोडक्शन स्फीयर) को पूरे रूप से खोलने पर ज़ोर लगाई हुई थी, तो दूसरी तरफ तकनीकी विकास (खास तौर से सूचना प्रौद्योगिकी) ने इस परिधि के खुले पूंजीवादी प्रबंधन के लिए अस्त्र-शस्त्र तैयार कर दिया था। इसी कारण कोरोना महामारी के अवसर पर स्वास्थ्य और शिक्षा (दोनों ही पुनरुत्पादक परिधि से जुड़े हैं) आज पूंजी संचयन की प्रक्रिया में केंद्रीय उद्योगों के बतौर विकसित होते साफ साफ नज़र आ रहे हैं।
निजीकरण की प्रक्रिया, आईटी और वित्तीय सेक्टर का खुले तौर पर शिक्षा के अंदर प्रवेश यह काफी दिनों से चल ही रह था। नई शिक्षा नीति 2020 इस प्रक्रिया की जन्मदाता नहीं, बल्कि निष्कर्ष हैं। नीतियां और कानून किसी चीज़ की शुरुआत नहीं करतीं वह हमेशा ही निष्कर्ष होती हैं। ज्यादा से ज्यादा वह चल रही भौतिक प्रक्रियाओं को व्यवस्थित कर उन पर सरकारी मुहर लगाती हैं।
कल Indian Express में एक वरिष्ठ पत्रकार का लेख पढ़ने के बाद
हमें आप से सुनना है
आप तो ऐसे नहीं
हम जानते हैं
इन्हें भी बता दीजिये
कि ये शांत हो जाएँ
आप इनका भला ही चाहते हैं
आपके बच्चे जिन्होंने बोलना सीखा है अभी
गालियाँ देते हैं इन्हें
अभी तो वे नादान हैं
हम जानते हैं
इन्हें भी बता दीजिये
कि ये संयम न खोएँ
ये जो बात बात पर उखड़ रहें हैं
दिल से अच्छे हैं
आपके जैसे ही हैं
सौम्यता आएगी उनमें
शांत हो जायेंगे
ये तो हम जानते हैं
इन्हें भी बता दीजिये
कि ये भ्रांत न हों
इंतज़ार करें नए मालिकों का
उनके बड़े होने का
फिर आपकी ही तरह
देश दुनिया देख लेंगे
संभाल लेंगे सभी कुछ
हम से ज्यादा यह किसे पता है
अब आप इन्हें भी बता ही दीजिये
कि ये शोर न करें
तुम नास्तिक थे क्योंकि तुम्हें विश्वास नहीं था
किसी सत्ता पर और उस पर तो बिलकुल ही नहीं
जो महज़ विश्वास है सत्ता के परम होने का
भक्ति तुम्हारी शक्ति नहीं थी न तुम आसक्त थे
राष्ट्र पर न किसी व्यक्ति या महज़ आदर्श पर
टिका था तुम्हारा सपना नित्यता के भ्रम को
उड़ा देना काल को अकाल समझने वालों को
जगा देना बता देना कि समय वह धार है
जो केवल बहती-बहाती नहीं काटती भी है
There is a nostalgia among Indian liberals regarding everything today. Even on the question of Kashmir we are witness to their lamentations – about Kashmiriyat, Nehru etc. However, the rights violations which are happening now are not very dissimilar to what has happened many times in the history of post 1953 Kashmir.
It is not to say that nothing new has happened this time. But it is also not illegitimate to say that the BJP has completed the long-drawn out process that Nehru started on August 9 1953, which Sheikh Abdullah called coup-d’etat, when he, the legitimate Prime Minister of J&K, was deposed and incarcerated. The “legacy of 1953” has once again been upheld in 2019.
What happened on August 5 2019, was new not in the manner in which the Modi government dealt with the democratic rights of Kashmiris. The newness was in the ultimate realisation of the Indian state that it was futile to convince the Kashmiris to forget their right to self-determination.
After 1947, the Indian state allowed plebiscites to ask people to merge with India only in those regions where it was sure to win but not in Kashmir, despite promising it. In Kashmir, the public support to the merger was never tested, because the Indian state was always afraid of losing it. India wanted to use the popularity and opportunism of Sheikh Abdullah who was ardently secular and an opponent of the idea of Muslims constituting a nation to manufacture consent among Kashmiris. But Sheikh resisted being reduced to a mere pawn despite suffering years of incarceration. However, ultimately he succumbed to Indira Gandhi’s pressure and for the sake of his opportunist politics, cohorts and progeny, he became a tool of legitimation for the Indian state in Kashmir.
Article 370 was an instrument to show that Indians respected Kashmiri autonomy. But the Indian state could never “manage” the Kashmiris well even with the help of these Kashmiri intermediaries, and the president’s rule was regularly imposed. The abrogation of Article 370 was the end of the pretense of respecting the Kashmiri will.
The Nehru and subsequent Congress regimes tried to reduce Sheikh Abdullah, a hero to a pawn by imprisoning him; the Modi government might elevate the Abdullah progeny – pawns – into heroes, by the same method. The charges against Farooq Abdullah and imprisonment of other Kashmiri leaders might perhaps serve the purpose of making him and other pro-India Kashmiri leaders more respectable and better equipped to dialogue with the defiant Kashmiri population. Governor Satya Pal Malik succinctly puts:
“I have gone to jail 30 times, whoever goes to jail will come out shining as a future leader. They can take political benefit of detentions in future. Don’t you want new political leaders to emerge in Kashmir?…They are not detained too far from their homes. I was lodged in a jail far away from my home. If those detained have brains, they will reap the political benefit of the detention. I am wishing them well….Those who go to jail become political leaders. The longer they stay the more they will brag in elections. So, if you sympathise with their political careers, don’t question the detention.”
1953 and 2019: Uncanny Similarities?
In 1957, Sheikh Abdullah wrote a letter to United Nations Security Council giving a chilling account of what was then happening in Kashmir. At that time he was “completing [his] third year of incarceration in a detention camp in the State where [he has] been whisked off as a result of coup-d’etat of 9th Aug. 1953.”
I reproduce the excerpts of the letter, giving subtitles to different portions that will help in comparing Nehru’s or pre-Modi attitudes towards Kashmir with Modi’s.
The Indo-Pak Dispute over Kashmir
Kashmir, unfortunately, is the root cause which deeply embitters the relations between India and Pakistan and in any conflict this State is bound to be the first casualty. No peaceful progress is possible within the State unless this dispute is finally and amicably settled. These are weighty considerations and no one who has the real good of the State at heart can lose sight of these factors. For some time past I had therefore been pressing for an early settlement of this dispute with Pakistan…. Indian reaction was averse to this approach and her resentment towards me gradually culminated in positive hostility.
Corruption and Coup-d’etat
Disruption and factionalism in our ranks and corruption of our people was therefore resorted to by India for breaking our unity and thus achieving its nefarious end. The plot culminated in the coup-d’etat on 9th Aug. 1953. In the early hours of that night I and my cabinet were dismissed without a confidence motion of the Assembly by the legally and constitutionally questionable fiat of the Head of the State. I was put under arrest along with another Minister of my cabinet and am now under continued detention nearly for the last three years without trial and without even a charge.
“A free license to shoot at sight and commit all other possible atrocities on the defenseless people”
Simultaneously with my arrest thousands of my followers and co-workers, including Deputy Ministers, high-ranking Gazetted Officers, respectable business men, lawyers, Members of the Assembly and public men of high position in life were clapped into prison. All manners of repressive measures were let loose in order to crush the spontaneous uprising of the people throughout the valley. Indian Central Reserve Police and army as well as the militia, and the special police were given a free license to shoot at sight and commit all other possible atrocities on the defenseless people – thousands were beaten or starved in the jails in order to break them into submission-the number of those killed was officially reported to be 36 although the public version puts it very much higher. No judicial enquiry was held to investigate into these atrocities which include among their victims even pregnant women and children. More than a score of Assembly members was detained without charge and many others kept under house arrest.
No greater fraud on democracy can be conceived!
It was under these bloodcurdling circumstances that a session of the Assembly was called to record its approval of the coup and a vote of confidence in the new government. From prison I sent telegraphic requests to the President of the Union of India, to its Prime Minister and to the Speaker of the Assembly to allow me to appear before the House and face a motion of no-confidence in a democratic manner but no heed was paid to it. Thus almost with a pistol on the necks of the Assembly Members and with massacre and terrorism all over the Valley, a vote of confidence for the Govt. pitchforked into office with the help of Indian bayonets was secured. No greater fraud on democracy can be conceived! What moral, legal or constitutional value this fraudulent act has need hardly be explained.
Thus India manoeuvered to remove those elements from the Kashmir scene which she thought stood in the way of her anti-Kashmiri designs and subsequently sought ratification of accession through the Assembly. To say the least, it is a fraud upon the people, betrayal of their right of self-determination and gross breach of international commitments and promises.
The Reasons of State
In March 1956, the Prime Minister of India made a public declaration ruling out plebiscite in Kashmir. It has shocked the world conscience and stunned the people of Kashmir to whom innumerable assurances had been held out that they will shape their own destiny through a fa and impartial plebiscite.
Reasons advanced for this face volte are that Pakistan has joined SEATO received Arms Aid from America and signed the Baghdad Pact. The absurdity of the argument is patent. Whatever Pakistan may do or might have done, that can be no valid reason for denying the Kashmiris the exercise of their right of self-determination in order to shape their own future. Secondly, India’s Prime Minister has hinted that a vote in favour of Pakistan will rouse communal passions in India and endanger the security of its Muslim minority. This argument is also untenable. Is India’s secularism so skin deep that it will collapse like a pack of cards as soon as Kashmiris exercise their right of self-determination? One may as well ask: Are Kashmiris to be held as hostages for fair treatment of Muslim minority under the so-called Secular Democracy of India? Were India’s oft repeated promises to the people of Kashmir that they alone shall have the right to decide their own future through an impartial and fair plebiscite intended to be implemented only in case a vote in her favour was certain?
Progress – “Nothing can be farther from truth.”
India has repeatedly claimed that Kashmir is fast progressing and that the political uncertainties ended. Nothing can be farther from truth. Kashmir is at present ruled by monstrous laws which have crippled all political and social life in the State and paralysed all progress. A lawless law of Preventive Detention has been promulgated in the State with the sanction of the President of the Republic of India which has stifled all civil liberties. This law authorizes arrests and detention for a period of five years without trial or even without disclosing the grounds of detention. Free and frequent use is made of this law of the jungle. Respectable citizens and political workers have been arrested under this law on the excuse of having publicized the speeches of opposition members delivered in the legislature or even legitimately organising support for the opposition in the House. Members of the Assembly who expressed their intention of crossing the floor in the House were put under arrest. In certain cases resignations were extorted under the pressure of this monstrous law and instances are not wanting where the members were publicly threatened of getting them involved in fabricated criminal cases if they failed to support the Govt. party.
“Corrupting public life and thereby purchasing the public conscience”
Indian money is being lavishly used for organising gangsters for looting, insulting and publicly flogging respectable citizens who do not see eye to eye with the ruling party. Colossal amounts borrowed on interest from India are used in corrupting public life and thereby purchasing the public conscience. It is however, gratifying to note that all these dirty methods have so far failed to corrupt the people into submission, and with one voice they demand the fulfilment of the promise made to them by India, Pakistan and United Nations to exercise their right of self-determination in a free and democratic manner.
The Hostility of the Press and “A Virtual Iron Curtain over the Valley”
The Indian press almost without exception, is positively hostile to all tendencies in favour of the plebiscite. Any Indian newspaper writing in favour of the fulfilment of the promise held out by India to the people of Kashmir or criticising the present administration in Kashmir is immediately bribed or blacklisted and its entry into the State banned. Foreign correspondents are seldom allowed in and if and when such a journalist finds his way to the Valley every precaution is taken that he does not get a peep into the realities of the situation. There is a virtual Iron Curtain over the Valley. No citizen dare to approach a visitor to acquaint him with the tale of his misery for fear of gestapo and subsequent torture. I challenge anyone to refute it. Under an impartial agency the scathing sea of resentment of Kashmiris will be unleashed and a real picture will come to light in those circumstances alone. Recent civic elections held in Srinagar and in Jammu afford a proof positive of oppressive and fraudulent practices of the ruling party in Kashmir. Muslim organisations and political bodies with overwhelming Muslim membership completely boycotted these elections. Some Hindu opposition organisations however contested these elections against the ruling party. The Hindu press both in and outside the State has published a surprising account of corruption, malpractices, impersonation and fraudulent methods used in these elections by the ruling party. It was through these shady means that the ruling party has secured all the seats in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and majority in the Jammu Corporation.
“A potential powder magazine”
Kashmiris are facing untold miseries during the present phase of their history. No progress-economic or political-is possible under such circumstances. Kashmir has become an oozing sore in the bodypolitic of the subcontinent. It has embittered beyond measure relations between the two countries. The two armies facing each other across the cease-fire line, constitute a potential powder magazine which may flare up any time into a devastating war. Its consequences are too grim to imagine. In such an eventuality Kashmir will be wiped out completely-and far worse may happen. Is the world conscience so dead as not to wake up in time.
A Plea to International Institutions
If a member of the world organisation is so easily to denounce international commitments and trample over without qualms the human rights of millions it will, I am afraid, deal a death blow on the effectiveness of the Security Council, will shock the confidence of small nations in the world organisation and endanger world peace.
On behalf of the millions of Kashmiris and in the name of peace and progress of hundreds of millions of the sub-continent I appeal to your Excellencies to firmly stand by the pledges of the Security Council and execute its decision. I also appeal to the freedom loving countries of the world, to those who have signed the United Nations Charter and pledged themselves to honour it in word and deed as well as to those nations whose leaders have fought and given their lives to establish people’s right of self-determination, to rise above international differences’ and disputes and lend a firm and unanimous support to the right of four million down-trodden Kashmiris and allow them to decide their own future in a free and democratic atmosphere. That alone will end the agony of the people of Kashmir and eliminate a grave danger to peace.
तुम जहाँ भी देखते हो पकड़ लेते हो
अपनी बाँहों में जकड़ लेते हो
नज़र चुराएँ तो कैसे तुम्हारी नज़रों से
हर तरफ फैलते तुम्हारे पहरों से
1. When we talk about reactionary politics, it is always in contrast to “progressive” politics. So this is about a contest, a competition, where purportedly progressive energy within the system can be mobilised to tame reaction. Evidently, this duel is a sort of Newtonian mechanics of action and reaction, which stabilises the system, the machine. Till recently, the contrast between these two poles of politics was stark and a distinct progressivist political programme could really be charted out.
2. However, in recent times, the machinic and intrinsic fatalism of state and polity, about which Marxists have always talked, but very few of them have been able to make this critique a consistent ground of their politics and analysis, has gripped the societal energy into the mire of barbaric inertia. No political breakthrough is visible on the horizon. Hence, it is time when we must stop talking about reactionary politics, and start talking about reaction as the general condition of politics – about the reactionary political structure or reactionary polity. The digits in which the “contest” is taking place are themselves reactionary. Reaction which was the result has become the means of politics. Reactionary polity with its discourse of reactivity is what binds left, right and centre together to (re)form itself. We are simply responding to the systemic machinery. The machinic system has realised itself in its fullness – this constitutes the polity itself.
3. The Asimovian utopia or rather dystopia has been realised – humanics and robotics have been integrated. Our general intellect alienated from us has gained a full life-form and we have been robotised.
“As soon as humanity in the abstract is introduced, the Laws of Robotics begin to merge with the Laws of Humanics.”
“Since emotions are few and reasons are many, the behavior of a crowd can be more easily predicted than the behavior of one person can.”
The machine has reduced us to a mere crowd with a few emotions, hence predictable and manageable. Our innumerable grievances are summarised into a set of emotive reactions.
(To be continued)
अत्तुं वाञ्छति शांभवो गणपतेराखुं क्षुधार्तः फणी
तं च क्रौंचरिपो: शिखी गिरिसुतासिंहोऽपि नागाशनम्।
इत्थं यत्र परिग्रहस्य घटना शंभोरपि स्याद्गृहे
तत्रान्यस्य कथं न भावि जगतो यस्मात्स्वरूपं हि तत्॥
“The snake on the body of Siva, oppressed with hunger, wishes to eat Ganapati’s mouse; him (the snake) Kartikeya’s peacock wishes to devour; while Parvati’s lion (her vehicle) desires to make a meal of the elephant (mouthed Ganapati-mistaken for an elephant): when such is the constitution of Siva’s household even, how can such a state of things be not found in the rest of the world, since such is but the nature of the world?”
Thus Panchatantra takes the game of pursuit as “the nature of the world” and teaches the strategies and tactics to survive and win in the fields of commerce, state affairs and everyday life. If that was true of the ancient centuries of Indian history, what can we say of our own conjuncture. Our daily lives are proof of this, and so is our politics. But Panchatantra’s time had a solace that the plans or evil intentions did not often succeed, and hence the world continued to exist:
सर्पाणां च खलानां च परद्रव्यापहारिणाम् ।
अभिप्राया न सिध्यन्ति तेनेदं वर्तते जगत् ॥
But today there is no escape. We are all chowkidars (security guards), and, therefore, are chors (thieves) – of course, relatively.
Games People Play
The chowkidar-chor narrative is an opportunistic discursive instrument to impress upon the public to garner votes. But why does it have an appeal? Because, it is the folklore (katha) of our times, an articulation of our prevailing common sense, as Gramsci would put. It is so organic that it can be called infantile. Why not, even a child finds a voice in this dialectical narrative. Isn’t it the same game of chor-police that children play, where every child knows that the chor and the police are floating signifiers?
This narrative resonates with the psyche of our times. And thus, instead of simply condemning it we must take it as a symptom of the sickness that afflicts our social body or more correctly, a sign of its (un)healthiness. It is only by accessing the materiality of our social body through a critical understanding of such narratives, that we can access the healthy sections of our social body whose nourishment is our only hope. In other words, this narrative is a key to unlock “the healthy nucleus that exists in ‘common sense’”(Gramsci). Its analysis and critical retelling can trigger a much wanted alienation effect in this hyper-immediate responsive world by providing space-time to objectively understand ourselves – the nature of our world. Only thus can emerge the good sense, and the critical sense. It can be a parable for meditations and to develop mediations to grasp the material element of immediate consciousness and spontaneous philosophies of our times.
The lore reveals the stark nature of the neoliberal conjuncture – a near universal feeling of being hunted, and a universal aspiration of becoming a hunter. This game of pursuit-evasion is at the heart of the political and cultural milieu of our conjuncture. Everybody tries to put herself in a position of the pursuer but must evade other pursuers-evaders. “When such is the constitution of Siva’s household even, how can such a state of things be not found in the rest of the world, since such is but the nature of the world?” She can make sense of her existential crisis through such narratives, and learn to live with it. But then, even to transcend this crisis, its understanding is needed, for which what is the better beginning than these narratives themselves – the expressions of this crisis.
More than any institution and organization, it is this narrative that captures and productivises the anxieties of the (post)modern man. An institution lacks the plasticity that an empty narrative or metaphor like this has. The latter can homogenise all experiences by providing them a minimal, but universal form – it adjusts itself to any situation, while an institution must chisel the experiences to fit them.
The Neoliberal State
As a parable, the chowkidar-chor narrative further reveals in a condensed form two sequential and defining characteristics of the (post) modern state that has emerged throughout the globe – especially with the recent right-wing assertions. Firstly, it reveals the nature of the neoliberal state in its bare form – the state’s reduction to chowkidari. And, secondly, its gradual disembodiment and dispersal. Besides the chowkidar (an agent of the state) everybody is a potential chor. Thus, everybody seeks to become a chowkidar. Hence, the agency of the state expands. The state universalizes itself by dissolving itself into every individual. We are the state unto ourselves and others.
So, capital attains the dissolution of the state, while communists are still fighting over statist or anti-statist paths. However, this dissolution is attained by universalization of the state. You will never be able to pinpoint the presence of the state, but it is always present in every nook and corner of our being. It is present through our anxieties and alertness, and their institutionalisation. A globally extended and internally-intended lean (re)produced state is a post-fordist state based on self-and-peer surveillance.
Following Michael Taussig (The Magic of the State, 1997), we can perhaps assert that the state’s presence expands with its disembodiment. The spirit of the state, freed from any particular form, potentially can possess every form. That’s the Magic of the State in the age of Finance and Information. The state, as a node of capitalist accumulation and regulation, seeps into every societal relationship universally equalising them. They all find their universal articulation in the minimalist relationship of the hunter and the hunted, of the chowkidar and the chor.
न विना पार्थिवो भृत्यैर्न भृत्याः पार्थिवं विना ।
तेषां च व्यवहारोऽयं परस्परनिबन्धनः ॥
अरैः सन्धार्यते नाभिर्नाभौ चाराः प्रतिष्ठिताः ।
स्वामिसेवकयोरेवं वृत्तिचक्रं प्रवर्तते ॥
According to our ancient wisdom, certain relationships are like that of a nave and spokes in a wheel. अरैः सन्धार्यते नाभिर्नाभौ चाराः प्रतिष्ठिताः. “The nave is supported by the spokes and the spokes are planted into the nave.” The nave and the spokes are mutually dependent. This dependence is not external, but तेषां च व्यवहारोऽयं परस्परनिबन्धनम्॥. They are in the relationship of mutual constitutivity. Panchatantra thus explains the nature of the master-slave dialectic. Similar is the relationship between a chowkidar (security guard) and a chor (thief), they constitute one another. Both identities are meaningful only in their relationship. So a chowkidar is himself only in relation to a chor, and a chor in relation to a chowkidar. Hence, the chowkidar must have a chor to pose himself as a chowkidar.
Even if the wheel of relationship turns, which frequently does, the only change will be that the chor will slide to the spokes and become a chowkidar, and the chowkidar will try to cling to the nave and become a chor. Moreover, as the wheel runs infinitely faster in the age of information and as the time-span for completing a cycle becomes smaller, who knows better than our head chowkidar, the chowkidar and the chor become identical.
The positive opposition in the cycle is caught up in its grammar and its continuity. It can never transcend the binary from within the narrative. The criticism must destroy the enclosures of the narrative freeing the flow of the negative from the chains of positive productivism. The circularity of power can be ruptured only by first recognising its foundation. The great Chinese sage, Lao Tsu provides a hint:
Thirty spokes will converge
In the hub of a wheel;
But the use of the cart
Will depend on the part
Of the hub that is void.
It is in the emptiness and void of the hub that the reason for the nave, spokes and the wheel is found.
With a wall all around
A clay bowl is molded;
But the use of the bowl
Will depend on the part
Of the bowl that is void.
It is only in that void that the rationale for the existence of a clay bowl resides.
Cut out windows and doors
In the house as you build;
But the use of the house
Will depend on the space
In the walls that is void.
It is the space enclosed by windows, doors and concrete walls that gives meaning to enclosures.
So advantage is had
From whatever is there;
But usefulness rises
From whatever is not.
It is this “whatever is not” that must be grasped to unravel the closed circularity of power, which seeks to absorb the negative therein, to positivise and productivise it, enclose it within the dualism of closed circularity.
[Note: Texts and Translations from Panchatantra have been taken from MR Kale (1912), Pancatantra of Visnusarman, Delhi: MLBD. (Reprint 2015) There are variations both in original texts and interpretations in various published versions of Panchatantra, but the narratival tenor and ideas are more-or-less same.]
I am no literary scholar. I have neither the qualification nor the inclination to be one. Therefore, I wouldn’t know – and can’t say – how a literary scholar ought to go about his/her business of engaging with literature. However, I can probably talk about what an aspiring militant seeking to engage with the literary can and ought to do.
The question before such an individual cannot be how the literary can serve the political – or, for that matter, how the political can serve the literary. The question, instead, must be; can one approach the literary and the political as two paradigmatic conditions of the singularities of literature and politics, and constellate them as those generic singularities. Politics, as opposed to the political, and literature, as opposed to the literary, is precisely about such constellating of generic singularities. [Here one must be clear that politics and literature as generic singularities, even as they are informed in their determinate instantiations by the particularites of their respective paradigmatic conditions, of the political and the literary, are irreducible to those conditions. The paradigmatic particularity and the singularity whose instantiation it informs are in an asymmetrical dialectic.]
In other words, an aspiring militant is faithful to his aspiration only when he seeks to equally engage with the literary and the political by struggling against – that is, criticising both theoretically and practically – the pushing of the political into the literary and vice-versa. For such an individual, it can never be about the ‘enchantment’ of poetry against the ‘disenchanted’ arrogance of critical theory, or vice-versa. It’s not even about being even-handed with regard to this binary so that some sort of reconciliation, either additive or aggregative, can be effected between the two, and the binary as the distributive structuring of differences can exist by striking a balance (a golden mean as it were). Rather, an aspiring militant must approach critical theory and poetry as two determinate anthropological-passional registers, and two determinate historical indices, of thinking in its affective (and thus impersonal) singularity. Thinking — we would do well to remember here a la both Heidegger, and Badiou’s Platonist matheme — is that which has not yet been thought and which perpetually resists thought.
So, if it is not the normativity of logos (political philosophy, critical theory) over the literary, it cannot be the poem-as-difference either. For a radical critique of the logos — which is the force-field of identities and within which the subjective experience of difference that is the poem is already always subsumed, thereby articulating the poem as an objective identity (difference-as-identity) – what is required is concept of the impossibility of conceptualisation (logos).
In other words, we need to rearticulate logos as difference in its limit. This is what the matheme, thanks to Badiou’s radical reinterpretation of Plato, amounts to. And that is the reason why I personally prefer the matheme, over Heidgger’s “poetic-thinking”, as a rigorous explication of thinking as the presentation of the void of thought. [It is on account of its rigour that the matheme enables an anticipative-prefigurative articulation of future-directedness, which is much more powerful and radical than what Heidegger’s “poetic-thinking” affords.]
Therefore, both literature and politics as generic singularities are instantiations of that singular affectivity of thinking in its indivisibility. It must be mentioned here that they are generic singularities only in their tendency to mutually constellate with one another as the uninterrupted process of singularisation (Badiou’s “singular-multiple”).
Unfortunately, there are far too many people – including both terrorists of the political, and terrorists of the literary — who miss this only to unreflexively indulge in such stupid and pointless instrumentalism from one end or the other. The former in the name of some kind of romanticised radical political valour, and the latter in the name of the enchantment of poetry and suchlike. And then, of course, there are those middlemen, even more stupid, who have made it their lifework to effect a reconciliation between the two instrumentalist modes so that the binary can continue to perpetuate itself even as their privileged position as oh-so-balanced and oh-so-ecumenical scholars is preserved and reinforced within the system that is this binary.
These middlemen can often be seen neurotically holding forth on the enchantment of poetry for the benefit of those who are engaged in politics, and on the valour of the movemental for the benefit of those who are engaged in literature. Such propensities, needless to say, are animated by the objective reality of capitalist modernity, which is a horizon constitutive of mutually competing particularities seeking to accomplish their sovereignty through such competition.
It ought to have become clear by now, I assume, that I’m distinguishing singularity from sovereignty, which is the particular seeking to institute the universality of its own particularity. Therefore, an aspiring militant who seeks to engage with literature can be faithful to both his aspiration and his engagement only if his activity is informed by the following conception: there can only be singularity, no sovereignty. Or, if, following Georges Bataille, he does decide to affirm sovereignty then he must carefully attend to the conceptual valency of sovereignty in Bataille’s thinking, and discourse, of “transgression” “radical evil” and the “general economy” of expenditure (as opposed to what Bataille calls the “restricted economy” of production and accumulation). If he does that he will see that, for Bataille, singularity is the only sovereignty that can be affirmed.
The affirmation of literature (together with politics) as a generic singularity, if situated rigorously in that context, is not an “art-for-art’s-sake” kind of argument. Not at all. Instead, what such affirmation amounts to is literature is so autonomous, or singular, that it’s not even for itself, to say nothing of being for the political. The autonomy of literature that a militant engaging with literature must affirm — if he’s to be truly committed to his literary engagement, and thereby to his militancy — is not the sovereignty-seeking aestheticised particularity of literature, but literature as the “inaesthetic” (Badiou) evental-process of singularisation in the determinate paradigmatic condition of the literary.
It, therefore, follows that to think the singularity of literature, or, for that matter, the singularity of politics, is to necessarily think them in their respective limits. To not do that would hypostatise the eventality of the singular with the paradigmatic condition, wherein it is determinately instantiated. That would amount to politics as the revolution of the event turning into counter-revolutionary antipolitics of evental revisionism.
Politics then is nothing else save the actualisation/actuality of this mode of thinking singularities in their respective limits. More importantly, it’s such thinking in action. In such circumstances, the only radical possibility before militant politics, as far as literature is concerned, is to demonstrate and reveal, not politics in literature but politics of literature. That is, not the demonstration of what literature says about politics, but the demonstration of politics in what literature in being literature is. More precisely, the politics of literature is literature being the revelation of the formal economy it is as literature.