The career of Narendra Modi whets the appetite of any anthropologist. The way the man has been transformed from a roadside bully and a riot suspect to a statesman, a leader of the developing nations, is fascinating to watch.
Disasters not only disrupt society, they also distort its basic categories, creating inversions, disrupting normalcy and suspending time in a prolonged way. Return to normalcy then becomes even more difficult and unpredictable.
A political party which seeks a text book start often remains superficial, pretending that the preamble or the introduction remains the real thing. For a party that created a great propaganda machine to devastate the Congress during the election, the Bharatiya Janata Party regime has little to say.
One of the most fascinating things about the 21st century is what I call the return of the body to the centrality of things. The body has become the site for all the major dramas — philosophical, political and ethical.
Modern theories of efficiency and equality are such that one loses a celebration of the marginal. Ever since socialism, we have removed the category called “third class” from our trains and our lives. As an upwardly mobile nation, we want to travel first class and as a truly global country we want our institutions to be world class. Our presidents and vice-chancellors were upset when they realised that our IITs and IIMs are not world class.
Babri Masjid is today a photo-montage of images, with each image capturing one angle of a strange and kaleidoscopic event. Babri is also a failure of storytelling because each separate story demands a different sense of ending, and a different idea of consequences.