Politics Of Identification

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Activism, Friends, Media, Musings, Slice Of Life)

Senior friend, Devinder Sharma – Food and Trade Analyst- sitting across the table was explaining about the ‘My Right To Safe Food’ movement which has been fighting against the GM food. Explaining about the strategy of the movement Sharma Sir said that (Sri Sri Sri) Ravishankar and (Baba) Ramdev also had joined the movement. This made me feel quite uncomfortable, because to me the persons with whom we identify ourselves is also politics.

I remebered, as i continued talking to Sharma Sir, the words uttered by Aruna Roy when i met her in Jaipur. Pointing at her khadi saree she had said “My dress is also my politics” to say by wearing Khadi she is identifying herself with a certain section of the society.

The stream of thought went back to a conversation i had with Pattabhi Sir a few weeks earlier. Pattabhi Sir, speaking of H.S. Shivaprakash Sir, said that Shivaprakash, when the entire Kannada world was singing and praising Basavanna and Allama of the Vachana Movement, showed a world inside the movement which none had explored. The world of Samagaara Bheemavva and Marula Shankaradeva.

Marula Shankaradeva, said Pattabhi Sir, lived his life like a beggar and in a more simplistic way than Basavanna and others did. He tried to negotiate with a world which was much lower than the world with which Basavanna and others identified themselves with.

After speaking to Sharma Sir i came back home and called another senior friend Rahmat Tarikere. Of all the people i chose to call Rahmath Sir because recently he moved away from the Kabir festival held in Bangalore because the Ford foundation funded the programme. Then he had told me that he felt for the cause behind the programme. But he felt that withdrawing from the programme was also his politics as much as promoting it was earlier.

Speaking as to how confusing and disturbing this ‘politics of identification’ can be Rahmath Sir asked me “Samvartha, are we practicing a kind of political untouchability?” Saying so he said “I doubt at times if i am defeating the cause with this political stand” to add wieght to his earlier statement that politics of identfication being quite complex and confusing.

As i narrated him about (Baba) Ramdev joining hands with the cause for fighting GM foods, Rahmath Sir said “He is a threat to many multinational companies” with admiration and added “But you see when he had come to Hospet once, he was indentifying himself with the saffron brigade.”

Describing in what ‘tight positions’ we are put in this post-modern era he said he believed, heart-in-heart, that politics of identification is an important one because that expalins our greater cause and larger politics.

11 April 2009

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