As I navigate my way through the substance of the everyday in Delhi, I become a specimen of strangeness, a piece of curiosity and sometimes, a trigger for disdain. While some sections formulate ideas of sub-oriental and exotic fantasies, some would try desperately to figure out my existence using theory, and the rest, through the sexiness of political love.
Paradoxically, all traditions are invented (and re-invented) at some point of time. If the Wancho script beats the odds and survives, it will become a tradition in twenty years. No other script seems to have managed the feat in this century. Well, not quite: Klingon, the fictional language of the Klingon people in the Star Trek movies of the 1970s and 80s was invented with a vocabulary and a grammar to give realism to the dialogue. Fans have extended it become a spoken language, complete with songs, poetry, and a script, even a language institute.
Roads arrive with an announcement of some form of modernity. Roads arrive with the spirit of the State. Roads arrive with the echo of the law.
Indeed, if men or Whites or Brahmins or heterosexuals have long used whatever power and knowledge was tied to their identity in order to define, judge, and subjugate others (is this not identity politics?), can the latter fight back without politicizing those definitions, judgments, and subjugations? As long as socially constructed race remains a vector of discrimination, wouldn’t it also remain a source of social identity, around which people organize to reclaim their dignity and rights? If racism didn’t exist, would we still have our modern idea of race—or the identitarians’ preoccupation with it?
This move, to alienate a group of people who do not conform to the hegemonic template of who is a Sikh, is deeply enmeshed in the project of constructing an ideal, normative Sikh, defined by the dominant groups from within the community, wielding religious and political power, through a certain reading and interpretation of scriptures, and more recently, through religious jurisprudence. Conjunctively, the politics of the production of normative identities through the apparatuses of the state and religion is closely associated with the production of hegemonic masculinity among the Sikhs.