On why all Indians consider themselves exploited

My answer to the Quora question: Why is there dissatisfaction among the people of India? Why is each class calling itself the exploited class?

Underdogs have always been cool causes, but in recent years, it has become endemic. To some extent, it is valid to say that power structures do decide who gets exploited and who does not. But in order to feel like heroes, everyone needs a villain. We live in an age when nothing is sexier than the victim.

Being the victim makes you attention-worthy. Siding with the victim makes you a hero. It is for this reason that entire cottage industries have come up that feed on victimhood and misery like vultures feed on dead flesh.

Though it is not at all an exclusively Indian problem, in this specific context, here are some contemporary victim communities:

  • Some Indians say they are the victims of colonial history and had it not been for the British mucking up matters, India would have been a super power by now. These victims come from every major religion but more from the middle-class which identifies with modern aspirational India.
  • Some Indians, mostly Hindu, say they are victims of Islam and that had it not been for the Mughals and suchlike, modern India would have been in a far better place. They dislike contemporary Muslims too and see them as instruments of global political Islam.
  • And then there are Indian Muslims, among whom there are many who regularly feed on anti-Hindu propaganda and see their only salvation in the global Islamic empire. They dream of a world dominated by Islam and of all nations governed by Sharia law.
  • Among Indian Christians too, there are some who define themselves as a peaceful minority despite being reasonably well off due to support from a worldwide Christian framework. They see themselves as being under the boot of the Hindu majority and any opposition to coercive religious conversion as an attack on their status.

Not every member of these religious/ethnic groups is guilty of such thought of course. But every one of us is prone to thinking this way. The people who will suck you into these pools of victimhood are standing right next to you, waiting.

The only way out is to realise that there is no part of Indian history that we can just overwrite. Whatever we are, we are because it all happened. Denying Hindu history is no more useful than rewriting Islamic history or whitewashing the British colonial era.

Think of it this way, if you want to have something, you need to state what it is. You can’t get what you want by saying what you don’t want.

#exploitation, #indian-society, #underdogs, #victimhood