The evening session started with the introduction of famous Indian Historian, Novelist, and political and social Essayist Mr. Mukul Kesavan. He studied History at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi and later at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge where he received his MLitt having been awarded the Inlaks scholarship. His first book, a novel titled – ‘Looking through glass’ (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1994) received international critical acclaim. In 2001, he wrote a political tract titled ‘Secular Common Sense’ published by Penguin India. He was joined by the likes of another literary genius Mr. Srinath Raghavan who is Senior Fellow at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi, specialising in contemporary and historical aspects of India’s foreign and security policies. He is also a visiting Senior Research Fellow at the India Institute of the King’s College London and a Professor of History and International Relations at the Ashoka University.
The debate on majoritarianism kicked off wonderfully with the panel questioning each other on various aspects of politics involved in communalism and the play of power structure in majority and minority. They discussed about the idea of separate elections which safeguard the interests of minorities. Mukul gave an overarching analysis about the colonial India which is inclined towards the Hindus and cultural euphemism. He drew parallels from the current scenario in Myanmar and NRC (National Registration of Citizens) in India alongside enlightening the listeners about South Asian approach towards democracy as a whole. Srinath on the other hand brought forth the different ideologies which are actually credited for the current state of politics in India. He discusses Savarkar’s idea of a Hindu nation and his intolerant approach towards one section of the country which was Muslims. He then went on to describe Savarkar’s ideology as he was a pragmatic practitioner of Hindu philosophy. He advocated for validating religious myths and blind faith against the test of modern science. In that sense, he was also a rationalist and reformer and thus his spectacle of society can not be discarded. The panelists then shared a discourse over the majoritarian supreme of the current authority which abrogated article 370, triple talaq and brought the NRC. These policies have a clear edge towards one strata of Indian society which is the Muslim minority. They also referred to today’s verdict which also fell in the court of Hindus. The debt that RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) had to pay to Golwalkar is being slowly rectified.
Both the panelists drew home their viewpoints on the aspect of majoritarianism and the Indian politics in a homogeneous manner which had more to do with acceptance of the fact that every country is rooted in a religious belief which paves way for majority and minority. They also give away the idea that a Savarkar followed 19th century nationalism whereby no country was ever born without war. The widely fruitful session for the listeners ended with an audience interaction with some counter theories as well as queries about the subaltern society of the nation to which both panelists dealt and answered in the most precise and subtle manner as possible, taking nothing away from their perspective.
About the Author: Abhinav Kumar is an MA in English with Communication Studies student from CHRIST ( Deemed To Be University), Bengaluru who believes in “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world”. He is interested in sports journalism and travelogue writing. He currently writes for TheSeer.