Democracies of Unfreedom: The United States and India

By Brij Mohan | Go to book overview

8
Rediscovery of India

The death of Jean Baptiste was the big event of my life: it sent my mother back to her chains and gave me freedom. . . . I move from shore to shore, alone and hating those invisible begetters who bestraddle their sons all their life long. I left behind me a young man who did not have time to be my father and who could now be my son. Was it good thing or bad? I don't know. But I readily subscribe to the verdict of an eminent psychoanalyst: I have no Superego.

Jean-Paul Sartre ( 1964:18-19)

If discovery is the science of intuitive knowledge, rediscovery is the art of self-excavation--an archeological exploration of experience. Rediscovery is a paradoxical gift of loss. But something rediscovered was perhaps never lost. Also what you can recover was perhaps never lost. This existential duality of trans-ethnic consciousness defines a culture of experience that is both uprooting and liberating. Many years ago I wrote a prospectus for a book titled Rediscovery of India. My rediscovery never implied replication of a famous historical essay written by Nehru, India's first prime minister ( Nehru, 1946; 1985). I am perennially intrigued by the interpretation of certain words and their meanings that I learned in my early childhood years. Reflecting on my own social world from a distance of time and space is rewarding. It is an encounter with my Being; its meaning transcends its essence as I relate it to interdividuality ( Sartre, 1992: xiv). This intersubjective exercise is more than cathartic; it is praxeological and self-evaluative. I am happy that I did not write the book as I planned before.

It is July 1995 in Louisiana, USA. About two decades ago, I came to this oak-infested country in search of a job. The news that comes from the

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Democracies of Unfreedom: The United States and India
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Part I - THE CHIMERA OF THE AMERICAN DREAM 1
  • 1 - The Politics of Being 19
  • 2 - Race, Gender, and Class: An Encounter with Reality 21
  • 3 - Beyond the New Tribalism 35
  • 4 - The End of a Great Society 53
  • Part II - THE MANTRAS OF DENIAL 71
  • 5 - The Remains of Democracy 73
  • 6 - A New Caste War: The End of a Tradition 89
  • 7 - Toward the United States of India 101
  • 8 - Rediscovery of India 119
  • Epilogue - A Tale of Two Titans 135
  • Notes 143
  • Bibliography 145
  • Index 159
  • About the Author 169
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