John Derrida is considered one of the chief architects of postmodernist worldview. We are living, willy-nilly, in the postmodern age. And one of the chief characteristics of this is incredulity toward ideologies, especially those ideologies that make big claims. Deconstruction that Derrida advocated consists in taking nothing on face value, in noticing the gaps and absences and contradictions in the terms in which an argument or claim is made. It teaches us valuing difference and suspecting totalitarianism, fundamentalism and all such discourses that speak in the name of God/Truth/Future/Utopia/
Justice. Derrida said that Justice can never be done in absolute terms and all one can do is to approximate it and ruthlessly questions all judgments, all claims of justice from authorities. Deconstruction deconstructs all constructions imposed on people through sheer power or force or propaganda. We need the language, if not the methodology, of deconstruction to present truth to power, to show our reservations regarding whatever is claimed, to puncture rationalisations of hidden power games. If we take note of Derrida, we couldn’t be carried away by ideological rhetoric presented as a rational argument.
Both before and after the elections I recalled Derrida and Foucault and their numerous admirers. In light of insights provided by them one can post-mortem the rhetoric, the slogans, the clichés, the promises, the manifestos of all the parties that are today busy in rationalising their choices or compulsions. With Derrida let us deconstruct a couple of key statements made by all the parties.
All promised development. All won votes because of hate against other contesters and in the name of excluding major players in the game they knew they can’t keep at bay.
A deconstructive reading of the idea of development is presented by dozens of internationally reputed scholars and critics of development discourse anthologized for instance in enormously powerful and readable development dictionary edited by Wolfgang Sachs. There is neither any knowledge divorced from power relations, nor possibility of peace nor sustainable development in a unipolar world governed by the supramoral ecocidal logic of corporate globalisation. The true story of exploiting financial structures, of neo-colonialist banking masquerading as aids/loans, of dissolution of gold standard, of inflation, of recessions, of remote controlled speculative businesses of markets especially stock markets, imposed myths of national interest and all pervasive war machinery eating up public money for imaginary and manufactured security threats is largely hidden from public gaze. Current development model involving industrialization and technologization is also a great myth that has been perpetuated and preached to the third world. It has resulted in virtual slavery of the latter and destruction of the environment and put them at the mercy of ill understood market forces. It is no wonder that peace is absent. Capitalist economy that has been successfully able to globalize itself thanks to opening up of “closed” economies such as Indian economy has resulted in unappreciated damages to economic, social and moral fabric of society. Capitalism necessarily breeds conflict, destroys environment, enslaves minds and souls to body, promises satisfactions that can’t be satisfying because man is created to be satisfied by nothing short of God or Absolute (Alla bizikrillahi tatmainnal quloob). Development ideology is an invitation to slavery.
It was conceived and applied in Truman regime by America to export its own model to sustain its power over the world and it has been so successful that today every leader from Narendra Modi to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to Omar Abdullah swear in the name of vikas or development and people buy the slogan least suspecting murky genesis of the idea that clearly shows it as a conspiracy against man and his posterity in general and developing world in particular. Every term used by pro-development ideological discourse like standard of life, poverty, GDP has been ruthlessly deconstructed in the above mentioned work. One needs to read it to be shocked and enlightened. We should ask why no radical and imaginative steps have been taken to reorient economy, decentralize power and strengthen community centric enterprises as against rampant individualism which has destroyed sanctity of relations and bred unemployment and alienation.
Democracy denied as rule by the people for the people by the people is easily deconstructable as rule by parties/classes against majority of people through bureaucracy and judiciary linked to interests of class or capital. That is why any alliance that we see getting formed cheating mandate, contradicting own pre-election standpoint, parasitic on people’s long term interests of all the regions, continuing servant-Lord or beggar-Giver relationship between theoretical equals. Power dictates. Money makes the mare go. People suffer. People don’t count. The show continues. Tamasha dikha kae madari gaeya.