Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What the heck does 'minority' mean, anyway?

This post is written in the Indian context.

If minority status means 'economically backward', join the queue, there are millions ahead of you in the line. You are not a minority (thanks to Nehruvian socialism).

If minority status means 'socially and educationally backward', then petition the leaders of your community to adopt more liberal, dharmic, and scientific thinking, and do away with dogma. Seek government intervention if things don't change, but the ultimate solution lies inside, not anywhere outside (thanks to Nehruvian secularism).

If minority status means 'numerical census count by religion', then check if your religion is monotheist. If not, you may indeed be a minority. If it is, then your religion is almost surely a global, several trillion-dollar power center that supports you and advocates on your behalf on every single important religious issue. Its headquarters is located either in the middle east or Europe, and you will find that you are reporting to the local leader in this mammoth chain of command, and your organization is free from government interference. You even have the powers to convert people to your religion by persuasion, force, or, bribe. This more likely makes you a 'majority', rather than a 'minority'. anywhere in the world.

If minority status means 'minority voice in a democracy', then check if you are voting as a group. If you are a vote bank, and your vote bank is bigger than other vote banks, you aren't really a minority.

So the smallest minority is an individual. Not so fast. A single person armed with a semi-automatic weapon in a crowd of thousand, while technically being a minority, practically represents the majority despite being outnumbered 1000:1. Numerical metrics mean little. The group or person that controls the rights to, or can buy the biggest gun in town is the majority. Examples:

The apartheid minority in South Africa versus the native African majority, the colonizing European minority versus the Native American, and of course, the adharmic dynasties lording over the dharmic majority in India over the last millennium. If you have the means to directly or indirectly control the majority market-share of wealth, public discourse, foreign policy, populist projects and 'quotas', real estate, legislations and ordinances, then you certainly aren't a minority.

Reverse the gaze, and what was obfuscated becomes clear. Terminological tyranny is another clever means of achieving mental colonization. In the pluralistic Hindu culture of India, the meaning of 'minority' is unambiguous and useful only when it is applied in context; universal application of this term is extremely fuzzy if not outright gibberish. For example, if minority is applied in the context of "maliciously neglected, and deliberately vilified people", then patriots are India's only real minority.

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