“স্বত্ব নিয়ে সমস্যার নিবেদন” On my-ness and economic entitlement)

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দেবপ্রসাদ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়

Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata

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

About Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Debaprasad Bandyopdhyay (b. 1965), through his 25 years journey in the realm of institutionalized academics did 27 different types of works, which are someway different from the earlier paradigms or, one might say that those works are not only mere reproductions of his inherited institutionalized cultural capital or a mimicry of a colonially imposed model that leads to intellectual anorexia or rather a type falsification of earlier paradigms. However, that might be not only a lofty claim but it also hid the fact that all our information and knowledge are socially accumulated knowledge that was, it is matter of regret, posed as private property through the sign © and the wisdom is rarely available. Bandyopadhyay’s works and projects are the products of his social milieu. Bandyopadhyay is a local sub-altern public sphere academician, who avoids the technical intelligentsia (followers of Sahib’s models and they are not committed to the persons who are accommodating surplus work-time to them by performing surplus labour) or inorganic intellectuals and thus fails to be a part of academic tribe and its subsequent socialization process. Of course, that socialization process does not lead to legendary Socratic dialogue. He is also a political activist though he has not affiliated to any political parties as he was always talking about the corporatization of political parties within the money-sign-based democratic system. He is a regular participant in TV and radio talk-shows and documentary films, street-corners’ talks and International seminars on socio-political, psychological, linguistic, environmental and economic issues. He also writes editorial columns in newspapers. He is also a part of parallel academics as it is found in West Bengal’s Little Magazine Movement, though that was not counted as the part his academic pursuit by his parent institute. His parent institute justifiably does not believe in the domain of parallel academics as this unorganized sector does not directly contribute in the transactions of formal/organized print capitalist eco-enemy paper-publication. Though the dissemination of knowledge is also observed in this space of these parallel academics as all these writings in public sphere simultaneously influence the classroom-discourse and some of them are translated into English, French and Italian. Not only that, Bandyopadhyay also sought engagement with the people, who, by supplying their surplus labour, are sustaining his livelihood. Bandyopadhyay, a linguist by training and a Ph.D.-holder (1996), a junior lecturer (1999-2011) in an autonomous central government institute in India, tries his best for those from he has received and is receiving the manifestation of surplus labour by executing some self-funded projects on economic issues in West Bengal, India. Recently he has got a consolation promotion to the post of Assistant Professor. He has done following 27 research works: 1. Crippled Creativity: An inquiry into language, psyche, society: 2. VALENCY OF BANGLA VERB AND PROBLEM OF COMPOUND VERBS: 3. Archaeology of Bangla Grammar : 4. CAN COMPUTER SPEAK? 5. FUZZY LOGICAL EXPRESSION IN BANGLA : 6. FOLKLORE AND FOLK-LANGUAGE: MYTH OR REALITY? 7. HISTORICISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF BANGLA LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 8. ABHABA, ECP, DELETION AND TRACE 9. SVATVA OR MY-NESS AND ECONOMIC ENTITLEMEMT 10. TRANSLATION STUDIES 11. MASCULINITY STUDIES 12. YAYATI & BABAR COMPLEX 13. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SURVEYS IN AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY IN WEST BENGAL 14. CONCEPT OF BODY IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE 15. THE CONCEPT OF ERROR (KHYATI) IN MAD-(WO)MEN’S LANGUAGE 16. THE CONCEPT OF PERCEPTUAL TIME AND GRAMMATICAL TIME IN BANGLA 17. BANGLA CALLIGRAPHY, LANGUAGE ART AND LINGUISTIC PEDAGOGY 18. WO(L)D SPACES: NON-EXISTENCE OF WORDS 19. ANEKANTA METHODS 20. SILENCEME: SILENT OTHER IN LINGUISTICS 21. IMAGINED BOUDARIES AND PRE-COLONIAL INDIAN IMAGI-NATION 22. MAKING OF THE INDIAN PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 23. SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS : MUSICKING IN SPEAKING 24. INTERPRETING GENETIC STRUCTURE BY DEPLOYING LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE 25. GLOTTOPOLITICS OF LINGUISTIC SUBALTERNITY OR AN AGENDA FOR PLANNING FROM BELOW 26. SEMIOTICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY 27. SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ACADEMICS
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