October 15, 2006
2006, ‘SOtto nie SOmoSSar nibedOn’, Asok Sen, Partha Chatterji ed., Baromas Vol. 28 October ’06. (pp. 217- 222)
What does it mean by the word “our”?
The author had anticipated the incidence of the secret moments of eco-enemy primitive accumulation and thus he acted with his theoretical weapons before Singur-Nandigram incidences in West Bengal, India. He started with these two quotations from Karl Marx:
“From the standpoint of higher economic form of society, private ownership of the globe by single individuals will appear quite absurd as private ownership of one man by another. Even a whole society, a nation, or simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the globe, its usufractuaries, and like bona partes familias, they must hand it down to succeeding generations in an improved condition.”–Karl Marx, 1894/1959: 776
“The person, who by virtue of the title of portion of the globe has become the proprietor of these natural objects will wrest these surplus-profit from functioning capital in the form of rent.” –Karl Marx, 1894/1959: 773
Then he switched over to the concept of svatva as proposed by Kana Raghunatha (15th C A.D.) He argued in his padarthatatvanirupanam—
“ Another new category is possessedness (svatva).
Objection: That is nothing but being fit for use as one wishes.
Answer: Not precisely, for one may use food belonging to others.
Objector: One is not enjoined not to eat food belonging to others.
Raghunatha: You see, you must already understand possessedness in order understand such an injunction. Possessedness is a property that belongs to people when they receive gifts and that they lose when they give things away.”
To summarize, svatva as a category does not depend on the exchange value as ascribed by the market economy, therefore (s)talker was paraphrasing “fit for use” (viniyogayogyata) as “use value” and it eradicates the self-other differences in the context of my-ness.
He was then not talking about I-dentity or I-ness, but on my-dentity or my-ness, i.e., what “I” possesses or what are (being) belonged to me—my ownership, endowment, possessed-ness or rather entitlement or in other word, private property. Following navyanaiyayika term, one may call this category as svatva. Thus this project was a psychoanalytic shift from the individual ego to the possession of ego as imagined and symbolized within certain domain order.
This paper starts with some problematic questions:
• Does “I” possess something or something is imposed upon my I-dentity or as my “own” by following certain rules of socio-cultural or politico-economic legitimacy?
• As a homo sapiens, except my supposed genetic endowment, do I have something as my “own”? Do I have my ownership of four Ls: Land, Language, labour and Love in the context or locus of this planet or universe ?
Then what is about legal entitlement as proposed by Amartya Sen (1981: 1-2)? An entitlement relation applied to ownership connects one set of ownerships to another through certain rules of legitimacy. It is a recursive relation and process of connecting is repeated.”
Amartya Sen then cited an example of private ownership from the market economy and elaborated an exchange of commodity by using money, which is mere a signifier that metaphysically makes unequal as equal and I really do not know the sufficient and necessary conditions behind such equation of exchange. Without questioning the stipulated value ascribed to a currency note, Sen put “etc.” at the beginning of the exchange process. The origin of entitlement starts with “etc.”, i.e. “ityadi” (iti adi, iti means the “end of a process or state or an event”, on the other hand adi means the “origin”) is put at the “adi” or origin. This is the paradox of his framework as it leads to fallacy of infinite regress.
[The English version of the paper is accepted by the Cambridge University Press and will be published as a chapter of the book on Linguistic Identity under the editorship of Imtiaz Hasnain]
Note: Downloadable document is in Bengali.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: hegemonic selving, primitive accumulation, my-ness/my-dentity or svatva (possessed-ness/ownership) as proposed by Kana Raghunath, entitlement, endowment, owner-occupant