The very famous phrase of Prof Ashish Nandy is probably a contradiction; but Indian history has shows that enemies (British/Mughals/other conquerers) survive in some way in our multi-culture. Just because they were enemies, we didn’t reject everything of theirs (I am not saying we should too, just like some say today). Just because British have gone away, their style of colonialism didn’t disappear. Higher caste lords over the lower caste; the rich over the poor; the majority (or a fundamentalist section of them) attempting to rule over the rest of the majority and minority (Our constitution has saved from this to a greater extend). Probably most of the powerful won’t acknowledge of any such colonization; so there is no question of overcoming it. The divide and rule of British has taken varied versions today to facilitate the rule of the few. Thus enemy has become an intimate friend & enemy together. (we too have adopted quite a lot of good virtues/values from these enemies).
Another enemy (a projected enemy for anything and everything) for India is Pakistan. There are different forms of nationalism, secularism and patriotism. The model adopted by Pakistan after their independence was One Religion, One Language and One common enemy. (Surely, Protestant England and Catholic French have practiced it long before). Surely that enemy was considered to be India. (I would like to think of them as creation of the politicians and vested interests; most Indians and Pakistanis would be peace loving). If we see the present situation, India is trying to imitate the enemy to have One religion, One Language and One common enemy. Thus for India, the enemy is becoming an intimate enemy.
From these two instances, we could see two characteristics in dealing with the enemies (and many become intimate enemies)
- We might throw away or get rid of the enemies. But we may have internalized some of their characteristics (some may be good, but some potentially dangerous for freedom, equality etc).
- Sometimes in the search for overcoming the enemy, we imitate their own ways. But these strategies help the enmity to continue for eternity.
Intimate enemy influences us probably more than friends…And we become followers/imitators of them…