DISCUSSING the political subject, the conditions of its emergence and the theoretical implications of its emergence, particularly those for India’s history, the author connects the colonial and post-colonial lives of our country so as to discover many events in a fresh light. He seeks to change the way in which we understand our modern political history and the way inquiries are conducted into the political life, truth and collective existence. His book is not only marked by continuities and varying histories of turbulent political moments in our recent past but also presents a startling picture of the emergence of the political subject which has been repeatedly sought to be brought under submission but which has resisted all such attempts to instead emerge as a mark of autonomy and agency in life.
The book discusses substantial philosophical interventions to demonstrate why we need less of Western political theories and philosophies to understand colonial and post-colonial political life. Instead what we need is appreciation of political actions and a different way of analysing them. As against power, it is resistance; against domination, it is desire; against rule, it is friendship, against sovereign authority, it is bare body; against the ‘culture of sell’, it is subject-hood – one can find in the story of the emergence of the political subject the overturning of the established world of knowledge.
The author adds that the hermeneutics of the political subject cannot be State-centric and neither self-centric. Western philosophy shows how the connection between the self and the State gets established to become inseparable today, so much so that it is inconceivable to even think of their disconnection.
So the author considers the subject both a product and productive, constituted and constructive, participative as well as critical. He gives texts and encounters which are not documents of inner-subjectivity, but are commentaries of ‘deep voids’, of situations where the political subject appears as the constituent force destroying the claims of dominant forms. By providing answers to some of the questions related to how to cope with the void, how the political subject constitutes itself, how the productive capacity of the subject can be reaffirmed the author shows that politics is the constituent power of the subject.
This book is meant essentially for political scientists and philosophers. -MG (Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, B1/I-1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi-110 044.)