A quarrel of being Plural
My personal vision is that of being a plural being, open to possibilities but not losing my sense of self. This leads to a personal dilemma arises on what facet to adopt and what to discard. Traditions have a connotation of being outdated and are considered as dull and unnecessary at times. Alternatively, I feel it gives me some stability. Tradition is more about conforming to the norms, which makes it oppressive. Society is so bound up with its traditions that govern sex, gender, desire that they cannot accept anything other than the established categories. An obversion of obedience is required, where we need to question. There are countless examples to cite how one comes to a full circle when it comes to certain traditions. The rejection of Yoga, only to be rediscovered after the West stated its value, is one such example. Similarly, modern science has proved how foetuses in the womb are responsive. This was rejected as a valid source of knowledge when it was depicted in the Mahābhārata on how Abhimanyu learnt about the Chakravyuha. Thus, a plural and experimental life is essential but not to reject what I have been handed down.
My vision is of my community, which is of plurality as well. Joan Robinson, an economist, said, “Whatever you can rightly say about India, the opposite is also true.” India is full of paradoxes and this is what makes it enchanting and frustrating. Plurality is one way to combat the dogmatism that leads to oppression and marginalization. There is no space for individuality and for dissent. An illustration, is how secularism is practiced west is seen to be uniformity and a move away from religion, in India secular thought is seen to be diverse with religion being put on display.
Though, plurality comes with its limitation. A homogenous society makes it easier for mindsets-old customs to change, for example South Korea’s dealing with female feticide took a few policy changes. Unlike India, where change can take for ages, for example dowry is still prevalent even though it has been illegal from 1961. India can be seen to be in 19th, 20th and 21st centuries simultaneously.
There is also an inherent threat of intolerance in tolerance. A famous example is that of the philosophical schools in India where there was a tradition of dialogue. However, due to such openness, the Vedanta school found it easy to be an authority as there no single established voice.
Thus, there is a lot to be heard. There are possibilities of being the dominant and excluding the other. But we need to take that chance!
The Voices of Our Correspondent will help me learn from my fellow comrades who feel for certain subjects such as gender and women. I have and will be exposed to the diversity that exists.