Intensities of engagement

Working in a local and global context Hazra argues the value of deconstructing one’s local identity. To define ‘indian-ness’ for example is like a trap. One gets locked up in the prison house of one’s own representation and this is then mediated by a set of other discourses and assumptions.

One’s own perception of one’s self is already a complex constructed entity. The notion of one signature, which is the true and most effective manifestation of one’s inner presence, that notion in itself is problematic and possibly a mirage, Hazra suggests. Perhaps the essence or the core of presence does not exist, which raises the question of thresholds. What is the threshold at which a certain entity ceases to be itself? This question is similar to the old neurological example of putting a brain in a box of nutrient and blood vessels and carbon dioxide is taken out, but there is no body. Is it still a person? As a way out of this dilemma Hazra emphasizes that we have to be aware that a person can have 500 different ways of signing. This is a more productive and real approach to identity and authenticity than the notion of the most original authentic signature or presence of a particular person.

The question of authenticity is even more ambivalent, Hazra argues. Traditionally and commonsensical there has to be a certain kind of unexplainable tie to the soil of the land to be really authentic. The popular notion of the authentic is locked into the notion of the true representation of a given culture. These are the politics of representation. Whereas authenticity, Hazra argues, has to do more with the degree and intensity of engagement than with supposed organic ties and binds one has. One can be as authentic in Facebook as on a piece of land for 80 years.