Talk By Gopal Guru on Humiliation

By Srishti Gupta,
Content Team Volunteer

“OH, HUMILIATION IS POISONOUS. IT’S ONE OF THE DEEPEST PAINS OF BEING HUMAN  “                                                 Pierce Brosnan

This quote explains important it is to understand humiliation when it is so intrinsic to human life . Anything which is so intrinsic to human life is definitely associated to politics. Therefore, keeping in mind the same, The Political Science Department organised a guest lecture by eminent professor Gopal Guru on ‘Understanding Humiliation’.
Prof.Guru drew our attention to how complex the concept of humiliation is, which can manifest in numerous forms, contexts and discourses. He also emphasized that we do need to make humiliation an object of academic inquiry. He explained how humiliation rests at the heart of the major problems of modern Indian life: the tension between private and public, national and the local etc. This makes understanding humiliation even more imperative.
He built a pyramid of contestation by describing how various  modern philosophers and authors like Bhiku Parekh and Ashish Nandy’s approach this concept of humiliation. Prof. Guru threw light over how Parekh by describing 11 scenario of humiliation occurring at different levels of social life, whereas Nandy argued that humiliation is a relationship which is realised only when both the humiliator and humiliated understand and accept their relative positions.
Prof. Guru added that this relationship becomes even more complex with the entry of a 3rd party. He even shed some light on Dalit humiliation and how it was justified from the view point of the hegemonic Brahman discourse.
He posed the thought-provoking question to the audience, “how does it become possible for a humiliator to humiliate?” In response to this, he explained that it is the structure which allows them to do so. There has been a hierarchy of humiliation, it never begins in a day and has been constant and ongoing since generations, whether it is visible or not.
Therefore  he asks us to interrogate the structure which allows this and question if  it is possible to change these humiliating structures. Therefore Prof. Guru succeeded in showing us the danger of taking humiliation for granted and inspired us to build up courage to understand and question humiliation.
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