The Classic Individual-Collective Debate: Why Indian Cultural Renaissance is Not So “Obvious”

I came across this thread by Priyank Chauhan @ Rashtram on a truer problem of how individuality is understood in a modern paradigm.

I have full support and resonance with this thread actually.

Then, I came across and equally competitive thread, to look out for, which quote tweeted this thread.

This is certainly a valid point, with which I largely agree with:

Now, I have some “radical” propositions to make, so bear me.

  • What if the consistency is lost due to a lack of transition, translation and transliteration in some terms? Many people do have this valid problem, and geographically across India, it depends on what are we really covering.
  • Now, I have always proposed that the Indian way is to nurture individuals and communities at par. Of course, in a post-partition India, or let us be more clear: in a post-Cold War India, the case completely changes. It does not necessarily change due to some generalised understanding that communities and culture never matter. It just happens that India’s youth has not seen a phase in which even if modernity could have some schematic and operative purpose (if not value), then the integration between tradition as an organism to represent continuity, and modernity (colonial or not) could have even properly happened.

Our knowledge economy excellently explains this. The problem of English-obsession and ignoring multilingualism, is a human quality of life problem. People are so naive to even realise that the era of ideologies (the Cold War progeny) is already gone. Liberal internationalism may be falling due to its failures, but ossification does not go away: I repeat — it does not.

Why does not anyone realise that quality of life by all means has shaped culture and its bi-products such as artistic and musical contributions, literature, research advancement, education and awareness, and even economics cum sustainability? Of course, when resistance comes, it depends on who survives. But everything is not existentialism. Ossification is a human tendency and not based on cultural patronage. Modernity — even if assumed reasonable or not, is always seen in India with a binary outlook, where actors completely obsess around the Indian realities without even seeking a harmonious construction. Chinese Communism too, is modern if not liberal. I do not even justify that India has to “copy” any model from any country. But if I even state this, people would pontificate that — “Oh! You want to copy this model, that is so bad”.

I mean — come on — are people so dumb to even realise that you learn, enculture and then create specific solutions? Does India, as far as its continuity is concerned, have no objective aspects of life? Even those who propose re-correction of history must know that change is dynamic. Even in jurisprudence, objective changes and subjective considerations are made very precisely and carefully. Everything is not utilitarian. People just lack this understanding, start misconstruing even basic and nuanced ideas, leading to no conclusion.

Cultural renaissance is an all-comprehensive transformation in most or many fields of convergence, and maybe divergence too. I am sure that our talent has grown up a lot, and India as a state is achieving various avenues. However, the youth really requires hope, which is polite, on-the-ground and realistic. That does not come out of creating binary obsessions. Achieving that itself is obvious, simple and salient.

  • Start preserving the assets
  • Work on the principles of innovation in the domains of culture as the basis of life
  • Appreciate both individual and group experiments; be enough resilient to never cut down the roots from the bi-products you create
  • Keep regenerating and preserving. Why? You would have something always basic to teach those who will become your future
  • Understand how culture and economics are interlinked — and even law and finance
  • Take any field — and start doing — instead of whining
  • Be real, productive and humble
  • Be helical in your future visions — linear in micro sense, cyclic in macro sense or vice versa, depending on what is tailor made for what issue itself. I cannot suggest anything because I abstain from making generalisations for others. The unbridled fact is that linearity itself like cyclicality, is indestructible. So yes — you have to live with both — so choose how much you wish to have both based on the issue itself
  • Invest in preservation, creation and regeneration
  • Study derangement, degeneration and even the problem of not even cultural transition. Engage and attest it with the problems of human quality of life

Complex adaptivity in the Indian case cannot be limited to the mere binaries of theoretical uncertainty, and the urge to have sledgehammer methods of addressing issues. Be real, honest, and let the youth productively involve. Mentor and synergise. Although I might be abused, but Priyank’s point that collective has to take the first step is CORRECT. And the reason is that it is certainly a limited onus for youthful individuals to know about their “roots”. But do not ever try to make this urge, made out of good reasons, be lost. That only happens because some people ossify the whole experience, and the barriers to curiosity are created.

If there are jurisprudential issues, policy and governance issues, they again require some constructivist thinking. For example, if you want to let any institution or natural resource be recognised — read how their legal/juristic rights, are decided. Then make economic and policy arguments, and justify the aura of cultural semblance and relevance.

Why does this justification even matter?

Somebody infamously had said this: “शून्य में मूल्य नहीं उगता है। (You cannot materialise when nothing manifests anyways.)”

I guess that answers the question. Justification to co-relate with these problems, is not to address any interventionist or half-baked claims, but only to ensure that the harmonious relationship is found. I am myself admitting that the harmonious relationship between individuality and collectivity has been always existent in India. Every geographical point of reference in India is different, and the diversity of even such problems, with some common threads obviously, shows that the translation itself, unfortunately has not happened as of now. A civilisation is a machine/a body/a system that keeps on moving. It cannot stop still, and certainly cannot freeze. Fairly, this point is even so commonsensical, but some people are so naive, that they do not even understand what are the long run complications and implications of anything problematised. Anyone who is youthful, at this obsession with ossification and problematisation and existentialism, would feel hurt, and even dissatisfied.

See, where can things be started, continued or even done. Was I being blunt in this piece? Yes, I wished to. Thank you for reading this reactionary piece. Read this work multiple times, cope, think and then ask reasonable questions.



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