FICTION: What!, or When Toes Become Fingers

The filthily rich two-headed Amit Bhagwat who are landed bania-brahmin and the rich two-headed Shashi Modi who are landed satshudra-bania, dressed up to look as if they’re a four-headed force for good, make up most of the topmost layer of modern-day subcontinental varna system.

We think we overhear but we actually oversmell the strangely illogic—Concentration camps aren’t good, Sirji, but genocides are—logic and the strangely logical—Hinduism isn’t bad, Madamji, but Hindutva is—illogic.

We ask the uppered caste Amit Bhagwatji and the lowered caste Shashiji Modi that so happened to bump into us on our way to an anti-caste play: Who’s to blame for the perpetual plight of landless Dalits?, and then suddenly we pull a rope that triggers a contraption which in turn contrives an Ayyavazhi mirror standing before which an Ayya Vaikundar devotee might pray, except that here between the savarnas smack in the middle hangs a dual-sided mirror to catch them pointing their fingers at themselves—at their own reflections—instead of pointing at each other.

In the subcontinental cultural melting pot, it would seem, at some point in history fell a caskful of poison.

If you wonder as to why we did not expect them to make an argument along the lines of: The graded inequality inherent in the system of castes pits one caste against another irrespective of their location, that’s because the argument should and must end with something like: We must be so pathetic to throw ourselves into Manu’s vicious machination with nary an afterthought, and that it never ever does.

Why did we not expect them to be sensible people? That’s because in this wretched world what they do is the easiest thing to do. We just stand there and throw ourselves into this vicious circle with nary a forethought.

Should we regret that we pulled the rug from under by pulling the rope like that on them because frankly we don’t, and now they’re begging us to chop off their pointing fingers because put into their head is the thought that caste traitors rot in hell, and we say: Aw, heavens, we won’t and why don’t you just bite it and then sprinkle some salt on it.

They freeze up as would predators in thanatosis, dead in their tracks, dead but not really. We want to tell them: Wait, you mindless landed expansionists and extractivists, the Adivasis whose forests you’ve set ablaze are coming for your heads.

Before the social engineer guy, that says things like: It’s been well documented that the Blacks on many occasions have had jovial relationships with the slaveholders so did the Dalits with the landowners, comes along and opines on the oppression within Dalit communities, we ask: You guys know how Sudras and Ati-Sudras, the productive working hands, that once built ships and cities, invented basic sciences and farming in the subcontinent then wound up as merely toes and outcasts?

We hear from them straight back that their guru—their master, the anti-productive Shankaracharya—might be of help, but when we approach him he throws up his hands, as we unfurl our beanbags, flailing his hands cogently conveying that he’s in a liminal state between death and, what, more death, aw, c’mon!

We can’t help but picture a Schrödinger’s pig, a pig with janeu at that, and we’re what dogs that just bark or what. Get the fuc—. We pull the trigger brandishing a smart-phone and Gopal Guru gaaru enlightens us through Sundar Sarukkai saaru. Ah, we get it now.

A janeu-dhari Schrödinger’s pig playing possum.

The thing about things in the subcontinental subconscious is that—.

Well, it wouldn’t be fair to state that the wheels turn on a single subconscious fulcrum as it’s an amalgam of cultures rather than just the predominantly repressive one, but the thing about subcontinental oppression is that it gives terrifying metaphysical meaning to the nature of the necrotic danse macabre.

To glean insight into the dominant metaphysical dimension of the subcontinental materiality one need look no further than the unlaboring dead hand grabbing and dropping the fruit of labor.

Think about the dead feeding on the living. Think about working-caste people especially landless working caste people and their production remaining as a fodder for landed nonworking castes in perpetuity.

Savarnas in Schrödinger’s heaven and avarnas in, what, Schrödinger’s hell, what, eternally, and we say:

We’re put through hell so that they can lock themselves away safely in, what, leisurely heaven!, and we ask:

What stupid idiot nonsense is this and what the bloody heck!

Ahimaz Ponrasa (@ahimaaz) has been published recently with RIC Journal, Minor Literature[s], Marlskarx, BEST BUDS! Collective, Glass, Elephants Never, Burning House Press, Big Echo: Critical SF, Paint Bucket, Speculative 66, formercactus, Dream Pop Press and MoonPark Review. He lives in the Union of India.

Image: Détail d'une oeuvre de Jivya Soma Mashe (tribu Warli / Thane district). Danseurs Tarpa autour d'un musicien Acrylique et bouse de vache sur toile, 2003. Stiftung Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf Image de l'exposition "Autres Maîtres de l'Inde, créations contemporaines des Adivasi". Musée du Quai Branly Paris. Sourced from Jean-Pierre Dalbéra (flickr).

Submit a comment