About Identity Politics.

Identity politics is a boon as well as a bane. It is divisive by definition. Instead of promoting a strong, unifying identity, emphasis is on old, parochial ones. These identities may have been a vestige of the past. But when mobilisation happen across them, fault lines gets more entrenched.

Identity politics is a necessary evil. It is the only ticket for oppressed sections to assert themselves. It prevents minority voices from drowning in the sea of constructed majorities. Social, religious or political majorities are always constructed by the hegemonic forces.

Identity politics work well for minuscule minorities. For a minority with considerable clout - say 5% or more, it doesn’t work. It leads to ghettoisation and ‘rotten boroughs’. It creates regional satraps dominated by an entrenched leadership. Look at the Muslims in India - strongholds of identity politics are the most backward. Leadership of this areas has an incentive to keep them undeveloped. This applies to quasi-isolated communities that constitute the ‘perceived majority’ as well.

Identity politics has helped transgenders and other minuscule minorities. It is necessary for visibility. Also, chances of alienation and polarisation initiated by majority is little here. Bigger minorities are better off modernising and educating themselves. To create a pluralistic narrative and be the torch bearers of unity in diversity.

Economics, education and bloodline (mixed race, caste and religion) should erode primordial identities. A good balance between identity politics and development led national integration is imperative.

Written on April 1, 2018