Mythical majority in a land of billion tyrannies

Minority (n)

1. The smaller part or number; a number, part or amount forming less than half of the whole.

2. A radical, ethnic, religious, or social subdivision of a society that is subordinate to the dominant group in political, financial or social power without regard to the size of these groups.

The paradox of Indian living has found expressions in ‘millions’ and ‘billions’. That too from outsiders who are often bewildered and enchanted — not in that order nor in equal parts — by the numerified subcontinental existence.

VS Naipul called it ‘the land of million mutinies’. MNC marketers standing on the fringes shout out to the ‘billion people’ market. For some economists, India’s ‘billion’ is a tremendous demographic dividend (though we hear less about it in these times of jobless growth).

As we live in the midst of some hectic social engineering, let’s also call it the land of a million minorities. Why?

Indians have existed in an unequal, conflict driven society for ages. Those inequities and conflicts are now magnified in our daily living. Don’t mistake it as an ugly religious portend.

We are increasingly conflicted on social, economic and cultural mobility, often minorities battling inequities in individual living. Each one of us are at war with prejudices and tyrannies, pumped up by hormonal changes in our national consciousness. 

The unnerving social mores of the past, which managed to cast away individual transgressions, isn’t a cohesive balm any longer. Individuals are boldly talking (and negotiating) with each other and with the State.

It’s probably gentrification of the resistance, which was so uncool. The young are rebelling and mobilizing against swelling tyrannies of households, castes, campuses and politics. They are up against a perceived majority, never numbered but always foisted on us as ‘a way of living’. The single most abused expression in the Indian narrative. 

The boys and girls in Una or in Imphal want a new social covenant. They are a million minorities, who are defiled in everyday living, but challenging the tyrannies of an invisible, mythologized majority.

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