Dialectics of identity and development : A new outlook

Dr Longjam Krishnamangol

Contd from previous issue
As Amartya Sen has clearly pointed out, "Indeed, many contemporary political and social issues revolved around conflicting claims of disparate identities involving different groups, since the conception of identity influences, in different ways, our thoughts and actions " (Amartya Sen, Ibid., p. XII ).
Thus, it is found that the different political and social organizations or groups have different objectives or perspectives that attract our attention on these issues, (i.e. political and social issues ) which involve frustration of or discouragement of the identities of different peoples, and that the existence of their identities may influence  the policy decisions of the Government or the State (ie the policy of the Government representing the State). And, the political and social policy that may be adopted on the basis of the pressure groups of disparate identities may be conflicting in different directions.
In such a situation, there be peaceful atmosphere for promoting overall economic development and social harmony among the different social identities.  In fact, there may be conflict and violence among the social groups due to the differences in the ideologies and perspectives (i.e. the social objectives ) or the background/history of civilizations of the different groups. And, it is also found that there are religious and cultural divisions or partitions, which isolate social identity of different groups. Indeed, religions and cultures constitute a basic social institution of human civilization.
As Amartya Sen further stated, "Indeed, the world is increasingly seen, if only implicitly, as a federation of religions or of civilizations, thereby ignoring all other ways in which people see themselves ( Ibid. p. XII ).” This suggests that the world is considered as a union of religions and groups of civilizations and that religion per se cannot fulfill all other aspect of life or all other aspects of civilizations and development.
Thus, there are different social identities or social groups, which lead to a "Solitarist" approach to religion and civilization. And, according to Marxists, there is a class of idealists (ie those who believe in " idealism" or  spiritual way of life ) whose doctrines or principles are different from the philosophy of materialism or the materialist idea of history (ie. as against the doctrines or the ideas of productive forces and production relations of the economy and society ).Thus, the concept of materialism or historical materialism reveals the class relations and class conflicts in the development of the society.
Here, it can be pointed out that Marx did not mean history as human and material account only. In fact Marx stated that " the history of human society is the history of class struggles ".  Thus, according to Marx the concept of "history" implies class conflicts and believed in the changes in the mode of  production relations (ie the production relation between capitalist and workers ) in the development process of the capitalist society. Here, it can be pointed out that Marx uses the term "history" here (ie in the context of the history of nature and the history of people ) not to refer to the human account (history of people ) production process or relations
In fact, Marxism deals with the process of capitalist development in which there is full of contradictions between the capitalist and workers. And, Marxism believes in the changes in the mode of production in the various stages of development and replacement of one exploitation system or study of the history of nature/matter or society, but to the development or change (ie economic and social changes) in the (ie to process in nature, society and economy)-(cf. Karen Haydock, EPW September 16, 2017, p. 85). In fact, in the development process Marx believes in the dialetics (laws of Principles or relationship) of unity between men and conflicting relationship nature (i.e. the people/human beings and environment).
Thus, throughout the development processes in the context of different socio-economic formations/systems, the "historical identities" of the people or individual identity have been transformed or changed in different categories or classes in the society. Again, it can be emphasised here that the human account or individual account/individual identity and the nature or environment cannot be neglected in the study of the relationship between identity of the people and development.
Thus, different groups or social identities and individual identity have important roles to play in the development process of the society and economy within the constitution of the country or within the framework of the Indian constitution. In fact, according to Amartya Sen, there is also the "Plural identities" which imply that the concept of "identity" of a person has different characteristic features or the same person may have different identities.
But, the person will have only one identity of the Nation (ie the National identity). What is emphasised in our analysis is that apart from the "National identity" of a person, there may be different identities of the person, which may be called "plural identities" and these plural identities have different roles in promoting the society and economy of a Nation or country. Thus, in redefining the concept of "identity" , the person may be a member of "social identity" or "social group"/ social affiliation.
And non-member also can be identified to join the group in the relevant context of any programme or activities. Thus, in a particular context, they also join the social group or share the group for promoting socio-economic and other aspect of development. Likewise, a person can have the qualities of plural identities. And, in democratic societies, the door is also opened for them to participate in any programme/activities or event in different ways to live in a system of social harmony and avoid the clash of civilization.
In the final analysis of the concept of identities, it can be concluded that although there are different identities of a person in various forms or features, there is only one identity of a person which is called national identity. Likewise, there are different identities of different persons or citizens in different countries. Thus, there is the need to properly (i.e. legally) recognise the identity of any person under the existing rule to confirm him or her as the citizen of the country.
This requires proper political and "social caring " of the recognised citizens or of the people of the country.

(To be contd)