This blog post investigates and problematizes a certain narrative strategy in the historiography of Malabar rebellion, in which “war” (“yudham”) and “riot” (“lahala” or “mutiny”) were configured on the model of “politics” and “religion”. The post asks what kind of sovereign formation was imagined in such a narrative strategy and why it needs to be addressed.
The need for rigor in our organizing movements is clear. The obverse of this is also true: there is a deep need for struggle in our philosophy.
This article demonstrates how the living memories of Malabar rebellion evade the logic of the historical narrative. The native memory of the rebellion appears to have subverted the neatly drawn schemes such as ‘Hindu’ vs ‘Muslim’, ‘cruelty’ vs ‘compassion’, and ‘horror’ vs ‘fascination’ etc. that animate the logic of historical writing.
The word mystic-politics (misticopolitca) is meant to indicate a field of experience that can no longer be contained in rigid compartments. It indexes on one hand mysticism and its internalizations, while on the other politics and its activism.
We all learn ways of negotiating life from our histories, families, religions, and our broader society. These passages suggest that some of what we learn can be deadly to our siblings and our neighbors, but we can explore different visions of God and abandon the toxic ways of thinking that are so often deeply embedded in our world.
If we understand political theology as the mobilization of theological ethos to manage political existence in the world, or theodicial redemption of being-in-the world of oppression and domination, the theology operational here could thus be tentatively called an anti-political theology. Anti-politics in the sense of the rejection of politics in favor of the immediacy of the oppositional freedom, and in its indifference in articulating sovereign futurities, which promise liberation in another worldly political order. In its fatal determination to rebel, it speaks only (or is only able to) of the irredeemability of this world.
In our zeal for the projects to which we commit ourselves, especially when we see them as responding to God’s call upon our lives, we risk a myopia that obscures our perception of other realities. Elijah’s story serves as both a warning and a source of hope to those of us inclined to abandon the institutional church, reminding us that there are likely many others who share our deepest commitments, even if these others remain invisible to us for now.
Khilafat in the narratives during the rebellion represented freedom, dignity, justice and universal brotherhood instead of the restoration of an empire. The article briefly examines multiple possibilities the term Khilafat or Caliphate offered to the indigenous anti-colonial struggle of Malabar in India in the 20th century.
Just as Jacob’s encounter brought new beginnings and transformation for him, embracing our true identities can lead to a powerful ripple effect within our communities. By cultivating a culture of acceptance, understanding, and celebration of individual uniqueness, we can foster an environment where marginalised voices get uplifted and empowered.