Guest post by LATA MANI
“When people speak about this or that, I try to imagine what the result would be if translated into reality. When they “criticize” someone, when they “denounce” his ideas, when they “condemn” what he writes, I imagine them in the ideal situation in which they would have complete power over him. I take the words they use – demolish, destroy, reduce to silence, bury – and see what the effect would be if taken literally.”
Michel Foucault, “The Masked Philosopher,” 322.
Foucault’s words are unsettlingly apposite to the current climate in India where an authoritarian government is seeking to quite literally crush and eliminate all dissent, all dissenters, any notion it deems illegitimate. The totalitarian fantasies of the BJP and its affiliates give us a real-time view of the violence that Foucault’s words can only discursively conjure. It gives us pause for thought about a tendency in the rhetorical practices of social justice activism. Continue reading “Sticks & Stones May Break my Bones…But Words? On Social Justice Rhetoric”