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Live with one identification for a while and then move to another, and gradually take each one of them to a meaningful end.
Be a crow, be a cuckoo, be a squirrel, be everything. Beat your survival instinct and identify your existence with everything. Now that I have those metaphors off my chest, it’s time I make some effort to elucidate.
Our survival instinct is shadowy and lurks around our existence. It waits like a croc in a swamp. It waits for our existence to go short on identifications. It waits for our existence to become stunted and meagre so that it can pounce.
So, what’s wrong in identifying our existence with merely one or two dimensions of life? Do we become more prone to our survival instinct in doing so?
It’s a myth that our survival instinct impels us for food and material alone, and that once our stomachs and pockets find peace, it takes a back seat.
Once we are stable or satisfied materialistically, we begin to identify our existence with some other dimension or aspect of life, and with that our survival instinct starts lurking around this newfound identification, waiting to pounce on it.
If we stick to this identification only, without exploring other possible identifications, our survival instinct starts piercing its claws into our psyche and we begin to lose the purpose of that identification. We start becoming oblivious to the natural progression of that identification and to its journey, which has a beginning and an end. We turn into a warrior instead, defending that identification and battling for its survival. And does a warrior go all alone on the battlefield? No.
Think of a young feminist who just identifies her existence with gender equality alone. She will end up pushing the pendulum to extremes and will function just for the survival of her only identification, trying to nitpick, seeing even non-discriminatory remarks with discriminatory lenses and taking every single judgment as an attack on her womanhood.
Think of an environmentalist who identifies his existence with nature’s flora. If he fails to identify further, he will start fighting for his identification’s survival. He too will push the pendulum way too far, and he will open a front even against an ounce of capitalism or an inch of development.
Think of a nationalist or a liberal ideologue in this light who tethers his existence with a single identity. Same story. He will become uncompromising and an absolute desperate. His survival instinct will make him gather an army, an army of ideologues, who use their swords and arrows to majoritize their insecurities.
So how to fight this survival instinct, this termite? Make your existence rich with a multitude of identifications. Keep moving back and forth, to and fro between different identifications. Don’t give your survival instinct that breathing space.
The meaningful end to feminism is coexistence and not the domination of one gender over the other. That young feminist can identify with the feminism of men, which is more romantic in nature. Women are intrigued by the struggle of feminism but men are intrigued by the romance of it. This coexistence of romance and struggle can make her outlook more balanced, less rigid, and resistive to her survival instinct.
For the environmentalist, planting hundreds of trees on a stretch of land can bring that meaningful end. Just like how Saalumarada Thimmakka aka “Tree Woman” did it. She planted over 400 trees over a stretch of 4 km between Hulikal and Kundur in Bengaluru rural district. Saalumarada and her husband started with planting banyan saplings, and today she is a Padma awardee. She didn’t have to open a front against the establishment.
For the nationalist, identifying with subcultures can lead him to that meaningful end. Isolation and utter ignorance of different cultures or way of life make people paint everyone with the same colour. Some use the colour of nationalism, to create a false idea of uniformity for themselves and validate their ignorance. Accepting pluralism is the essence of a nationalist. Nationalism is about addressing the pluralism of the land in one voice when needed.
The finest of humans on earth will always be found fusing one healthy culture with another to achieve what the shreds of art so dearly long for, by being both storytellers and listeners at once.
So, identify your existence with as many dimensions of life as you can, and don’t keep the count.
Image via Pixabay
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When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
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Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).