Monthly Archives: March 2013

An impolitic remark

Allow me to open a conversation on this article with two points, stated ba(l)dly and rhetorically:

A.Is this just? Or is it a selfish and calculated demand? Should such posts be offered to the family of every police officer or wardi walla who has been slain? Is the wife willing to prove herself capable to ‘man’ such a post? Does this not turn a tragedy into a profitable scheme, using opportunity for reward?

B. I would like to set this against the purported voice of every Muslim in the Kashmir valley, who (we are told repeatedly) think the wardi is to be automatically attacked. Where are the imams and maulanas on this discrepancy of Muslim voices? If they support both instances I can only say they are playing and taking advantage of a democratic system: the state is the only way a perceived minority can get advantages and benefits, and yet they must bully the state into giving them special status. Attack the state and yet keep it going, both must be kept in balance.

And now, allow me to add nuance.

This woman has understood that those who have only wealth but little power will be hated and persecuted. To be a widow with money but no real power would mean little freedom from the conditions she implicitly wishes to escape. This speaks of a rational understanding of the way society is tied together, of what Hannah Arendt in _Antisemitism_ describes as the ‘rational instinct’ that power has some function and is of some general use. We can hardly criticize this.

The questions for the public at large, to my mind, may be framed like this: should this be a solitary case or a representative one? Even if we reward one particular person and family because they are exemplary human beings and citizens, will the members of that person’s tribe/religion/social groups accept the judgment as singular, or will they turn it into a template for future redress? A brave man’s family should be honored, but to what extent should ‘we’ distribute in disproportion the meagre riches of a corrupt state mechanism? To what extent should a citizen be asked to ‘understand’ this poverty of the civil state? To what extent can and should we trust a wronged and biased fellow citizen to correct it? All these turn upon the fine lines between love for one and ‘love’ for many, the particular and the general, the special and the common, and the ‘manifest manners’ of minority and majority dreams for the future.

The real fear, to my mind, is the balance of disorder. For the tension between the destruction of structures of power that are oppressive and threatening and the installation of nodes of power that are more favorable cannot always be maintained at the proper pitch. Violence and rebellion will occur in this play of opposites before new orders are established, and often those new orders will be more coups than revolutions.


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