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Hybridity, Nationalism, Culture and Language: Contestations from below

Hybridity, Nationalism, Culture and Language: Contestations from below

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Published by dominic
Indian dynamics of modernisation
Indian dynamics of modernisation

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Published by: dominic on Jan 12, 2010
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Hybridity, Nationality, Culture and Language: Contestations from BelowDr. Dominic.DEmal:dd64@in.comIntroduction:At the outset let me clarify some of my subjective theoretical positions: First, Itry to use a language that is specific to my own context as a hybrid X’tiancharacter i.e. casteist in its very origin. Secondly, my presentation will look atthe growth of ‘Kannada literary studies’ which was the result of ColonialModernity. As I unravel the dynamics of construction of the ‘Kannada literarystudies’ I argue that this was done to reformulate the Sanskrit Tradition’shegemony over modernity through standrdisation of regional languages in India.How did it then happen?Understanding the present con-text:During the last two decades ‘postmodern philosophy and cultural studies’ movedtowards important theoretical currents that impelled a strong critique, inside andoutside the academia of the pathologies of modernization in India and specificallyin Karnataka. To understand this let’s look at the metaphor or HIGHWAYS acrossKarnataka. We see ‘linear’ landscape development through the process of‘urbanization’ and ‘industrialization’. This was initiated in signing the GHATTagreement in 1992. These can be named as follows:1.Bangalore - Ramangara - Mandya Mysore Highway: (There is also broad gageRailway lane on the same route which is now gearing up to become double lane).This highway further moves towards by splitting into three lanes connectingMadikeri region, Ooty (TN) and Vayanadu (Kerala) through the Bandipur andNagarhole forests. Following this linear line, the state sponsored BangaloreMysore double lane Highway and the controversial Nandi Infrastructural ExpressCorridor Highway (NICE) have started their activities that have only furthered therealestate land mongering. Yet they were named as infrastructure for developmentfor the people. In spite of the struggle of the farmers against NICE’sappropriation of land and other resources the project has come to stay.2.Bangalore – Hasan – Mangalore Highway: As Mangalore offers sea route fortrade and commerce, most industries like Mangalore Power Company, MangaloreRefineries and Chemicals Limited, Kudremukh Iron Ore Industries, Canara SpringsLimited, Mangalore Chemical Fertilizers Limited, Lamina Suspensions Limited andthe recent information and technology ventures consumed much money, land and otherresources. These as claimed, seem to contribute much to the nation’s economy thanto majority of the starving citizens.3.Bangalore – Tumkur – Chitrdurga – Davanagere – Hubli – Dharwar and BelguamHighway and the changes around these cities: On this line Tumkur, Davanagere andDharwar have Universities which provide spaces for higher learning.4.Mangalore – Udupi – Karwar – Belguam based Highway and Konkan Railways andthe changes around them: Sea Bird defence project and Kaiga thermal project havecome up near Karwar. For other SEZ zones people are expressing their strongprotest in the same zone.5.Bangalre – Chikkaballapur – Bellary Highway that links Hyderabad Karnatakaregion and Andrapradesh: In this region, we have defence Airport training centreas well as Devanahalli International Air port. (Here I have left out a route thatmoves through Bijapur – Gulbarga – Raichur – Bidar which is rather a new phenomenain urbanization process)The above development scenario is much like the short ‘Tar Came’ of DevanurMahadev. In this short story how people in the village encounter the constructionof road that symbolizes both agony and ecstasy. Similarly, the metaphor of the‘Highway’ in Karnataka has drawn a large number of people to the newly emergedcities situated on these highways. Further, these developments have given rise tothe logic of geographically driven attitude called hybridity, nation, culture andlanguage in the newly emerged cities of Karnataka. Huge foreign direct investmentsin IT – BT, construction, real estate, garment, iron ore processing and mining
industries did the magic of Ultra modern technology driven changes. Among theactors the Asian Development Bank emerged as the key player in lending loan forthe infrastructure systems in the Old and the newly emerged cities on the abovezones of Karnataka. Amidst this, both the print media and the electronic mediarevolutionized their operations to drive home the desire to be sensuous thatritualized the mantra of ‘industrialize or perish’.Due to this large populations particularly from the most backward castes andcommunities and dalit communities were drawn to these cities and their traditionalskills were replaced to suit the construction industry and garment factories. Inthe past people’s movements though offered the much needed cultural ethos to theircadres but slowly, these movements alienated the most backward communities inKarnataka. Thus, the LPG decade did create a feeling of alienation and culturalvacuum among the various sectors of population. Yet, the same decade did offeropportunities for the people to become rich over night either through real estatebusiness or through mining or other sources. In turn their newly attained statuswanted cultural legitimacy. And this space was grabbed immediately by the BJP’sHindutva agenda. Therefore, the Most backward communities and the neo richextended their support to the conservative hindutva politics. This explains howBJP came to power in the state. This doesn’t mean that we should be blind to theother pathological developments of the same process... but, who has the time tolook at this?Turning towards Conceptualizing:Given the failure of the intelligentsia to theorize the changed social realities,the social sciences have ended up in a crisis point. The earlier colonialtheoretical perspectives on singular modernity syndrome no more supported thesechanges. Thus ‘postmodern philosophy and cultural studies’ did offer the breathingspaces for the newly emergent intellectual milieu in our societal reality today.In spite of the many differences among the postmodern philosophy andcultural studies notwithstanding, both these currents attribute the present crisisin the social sciences to the exclusive, dualist character that modern powerrelations assume. The homogenizing modernity as an alterity-generating machinethat in the name of reason and humanism excludes from its imaginations thehybridity, multiplicity, ambiguity and contingency of different forms of lives.This goes further to privilege a singular ‘nationality cult’ on the Pan - Indianmodernity which ends up in a power crisis situation because from below theconstruct of the “other” by means of a binary logic starts resisting and assertingfor its space.But the dualist homogenizing capitalist economy invests much in the production ofdifferences. As a result, the celebratory affirmation of these differences, farfrom subverting the system contributes to its consolidation and continuation ofexploitative systems. This is where the ‘discourse of justice’ has to emerge inorder to reconfigure the future.From this critical perspective that we can conclude that the project of modernityhas stimulated to two closely linked social phenomena: the formation of nation –states and the consolidation of colonialism. The nation is understood as thesphere in which all societal interests reach a point of synthesis that is thelocus which formulates collective goals valid for everyone. If so, this requiresthe application of “rational criteria” that permit the state to channel thedesires, interests and emotions of citizens toward its own goals. The modern statethus, acquires a monopoly on violence, but also uses it to rationally “direct” theactivities of its citizens in accordance with previously established scientificcriteria. As Immanuel wallerstein has shown, how the social sciences became afundamental part of this project of organization and control over human life.Thus, the explosion of normative frameworks ushering in modernization processgives rise to the emergence of a new configuration of global power relations thatis based on the production of differences instead of on their repression. But thishappens not without social sciences but through them the modern state is in aposition to exercise control over people’s lives, define long–and–short term

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