Let me invite you to do a thought-experiment along with me.
Imagine that all human beings seek happiness. Imagine too that they can all achieve this state of being. Because, as I said in one of my posts, there are no qualifications (or requirements) to reach this end-state; any and all ways are conducive to reach this end-state: thinking, meditation, music, dance, and, yes, even going to temples and reciting ‘sahasranaamams.’ At any and every stage and moment, people can achieve happiness.
Such a system (or such a structure of society) is the most ideal “social security system” that can ever be built. No human being falls outside the safety net and there are routes from every point to this end-state that all human beings seek. The system guarantees each one of us that we can be happy and provides us with just the route we want (and can follow) to become happy.
Like all social security systems, this one also requires to be constantly replenished. It too has to draw upon the ‘total wealth’ of society to keep itself reproducing. This wealth is also continually reproduced: new stories, new rituals, and performance of what already exists as stories and rituals, drama, poetry… and so on.
As society and its environment changes, to keep this social security system going, this wealth has to be constantly reproduced and replenished. For this to happen, people should continue to see what is being produced as ‘wealth’. What happens when slowly, over a period of time, people do not see it any more as ‘wealth’? The system slowly starts unraveling because new contributions to this “social security system” are not seen as contributions to such a system any more. Though a massive social process and change, this does not mean that people, all of a sudden, change their ways of looking: some still see stories as wealth (i.e. some can still learn from them), some still go to harikatha (and learn from it), some still go to the temples (and find happiness in the puja and the sahasranaamams)… But the “social security system” starts falling apart (slowly): it cannot be sustained any further in the way it was and it ceases to be the safety net that it once was to all the people. But it does not completely disappear or totally disintegrate because it is in the nature of this society to build such a net. So, even as parts begin to become unsustainable, there is both an attempt to take the slack that comes into being and new attempts to rejuvenate the entire system.
‘Colonial consciousness’ is about one aspect of the how and why of this unraveling. It is like saying some parts of the industrial production has died. We need to shift the ‘economy’ to become reliant on other kinds of production (either other industrial products or build the service industry) so that we could replenish the social security system. We see that many have opted out of the system: we need to make it clear to them that “private insurance” will never work; it will not provide them with the safety net they seek…
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- Victorian morality of NRI and middle class Hindus: Prostitution, Adultery