Saturday, 6 October 2012

freedom of expression . the politics continued.

I think you could say that some of it is caused by a particular kind of anti-Americanism, which might well be fuelled by recent American military excursions. You could say that some of it is out of a kind of economic despair, where you have a body of young men whose own prospects are very slim and whose hopes of making a good life are very small. And that engenders all kinds of disappointments and anger which can be channelled in this direction. There is a whole series of causes and they are not the same in every place. In Iran, fundamentalism was fuelled to an extent by the regime of the Shah being supported by the West.
Of course there are geopolitical reasons. But I think there are educational reasons as well. The mistake of the West was to put the Sauds on the throne of Saudi Arabia and give them control of the world’s oil fortune, which they then used to propagate Wahhabi Islam. This very minor extremist cult, Wahhabism, was suddenly propagated across the Muslim world through madrassas and has created generations now who are steeped in this harsher, more paranoid, more confrontational version of Islam.

That "mistake of the West"  was about imperial colonial power and its desire to extend it by controlling Oil and the access to it  . The power game continues because colonialism did not end. Though  the Modernity project  is breaking down. Following in the footsteps of the Cultures it  destroyed.

From an Indian optic, as this autumn’s epidemic outbreak of clerical madness demonstrates, it is far from clear that the problem is centred around either Muslims or rage. There is a far larger crisis unfolding in what used to be called the Third World, a breakdown of the modernist project that has empowered a variety of politics based around narrow ethnic and religious identities.

No great insight is needed into why this retreat came apart — and the religious right became resurgent. Post-colonial societies have been through an extraordinary ripping-apart of their cultural fabric over the past century and more

scholars like Meera Nanda have pointed out, the worst kinds of political reaction which emerged out of the post-colonial crisis. Instead of building a political vocabulary based on citizenship, the republic degenerated into a series of political claims based on identity. Not giving offence to these identities was valorised as a means of engaging with the tide of hate washing across India. The defenders of M.F. Husain, for example, were compelled to argue that his paintings were deeply respectful of the Hindu tradition — not that he was entitled to offend who he chose.

India desperately needs a new modernist project — not the backward-looking search for authenticity which has so impoverished our public life. This ought to be the real lesson of the Innocence riots, though such reflection is improbable; there have been no shortage of opportunities to awake, and none of those was heeded.

No comments: