Chetan Bhatt: Dare to refuse the origin myths that claim who you are
Chetan Bhatt teaches and writes about the numerous dangers human rights face today from resurgent Far Right movements. Full bio
Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.
I'm often asked, "Where are you from?"
what they're really asking,
were born in India,
I've worked with one of those."
assume that I'm a Hindu.
cooks, car mechanics --
to respond to questions about identity
teenage refusal to be labeled.
we just assume that we have
to questions of identity and origin
social and political importance.
going on all around us.
national and ethnic disputes.
on old stories of identity
of a caste or gender
of an empire or civilization
make us feel secure.
warm and fuzzy inside.
identity myths to feel safe?
national, ethnic disputes
every single primordial origin myth
of women and girls,
are closely linked to tradition,
points to something old
is just history,
condensed into a nice story.
tradition with history.
created fictions of ancient belonging,
even if very unequal world.
Irish families living in our street,
was massive then
of violence against us
a leaflet came through our letter box
candidate for our area.
when I played in the garden as a kid,
National Front activists
to go back home.
political journey out of fascism
that we got to know well --
that life in our street
for an Asian soap opera.
to be known by anyone at all.
there was a quiet little boy
I didn't hear much more about him,
by a British supporter of Al Qaeda,
for attacks in Britain.
was still in the future,
New York bombing targets.
to use on the London Underground,
in London's shopping areas.
prisoner in the UK
figures to be arrested in Britain.
his Hindu or Indian or British identity,
in Al Qaeda or Islamic State
is a white American
where are they from.
where they're going.
occurs for those young men and women
in Muslim family backgrounds.
from Europe, Asia, North America,
rejected their backgrounds
attacking their parents' backgrounds
of cosmic apocalypse.
your society, your family and friends
about a return to the past.
which begins today at year zero.
of Al Qaeda and Islamic State
when they take over an area
shrines, preachers, practices.
and punish people internally,
of how one prays.
people from other Muslim backgrounds.
can ever be pure enough,
that have existed for centuries
that they so joyously obliterate.
is at war with history,
very certain about their purity
can lead to lethal visions
fundamentalist organization in India
of the 1930s in Italy or Germany,
are indeed in fascism.
Hindu fundamentalist movement
view this murderer as a national hero,
statues of him throughout India.
on Valentine's Day,
as their ancient culture
the strongest possible claims
and white shirts
about their primordial religion
pure, pristine identities of conviction
as their sole property, a property.
They're messy. They're impure.
and you'll see disputes and arguments
to have and to express your religion
have to respect the content.
looks, for example,
that you may find offensive,
not to be offended.
we're constantly offended
different views all the time.
or national or cultural background.
or ethnic identity,
from a warm and cozy womb,
because of the accident of birth.
that they imagine.
but only a little bit.
the supporter of some Little Englander
by his Spanish credit card
by his high-street British bank
owned by a Russian.
venture capitalist firm.
in meetings in Ghana.
and religious right visions,
about language, food, clothing and music,
what has been decided to be culture
into the shape of a prison.
are elite bids for power.
or economic or political injustices.
of people across the globe
to a monument from their past,
of a civilization or empire?
and your thoughts into a continuous person
all of your hopes and dreams,
in the biography of who you are.
if such a thing exists,
impurities and uncertainties?
is a sign of immaturity,
and religious traditions are bad for you.
about every primordial origin claim
that call on you to belong,
and fixed identities,
to think creatively
always takes care of itself.
ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd,
in Cordoba in the 12th century,
deeply blasphemous, heretical and evil.
were ruthlessly hunted down,
of the medieval period.
the Roman Catholic Church.
that something true in religion
finds to be true on earth,
and one that is divine,
are in the realm of reason.
should be governed by our reason,
was upset by his writings,
during his lifetime,
a strong statement of secularism
to be our culture and their culture.
who happens to be a Muslim,
of secularism in Europe.
and racial purists of all kinds,
ABOUT THE SPEAKERChetan Bhatt - Sociologist, human rights activist
Chetan Bhatt teaches and writes about the numerous dangers human rights face today from resurgent Far Right movements.
Why you should listen
Chetan Bhatt has published widely about the worldwide rise of racist and religious Far Right movements. He is interested in why the authoritarian ideas of these movements appeal to many groups and how understanding the nature of their ideas can help us challenge them effectively. He is currently working on several projects focused on violent Islamist, Hindu Right and white and ethnic supremacist movements, as well and the states and politicians that assist them in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
Bhatt is professor of sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK, where he directs LSE Human Rights. Previously, he taught at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Universities of Essex and Southampton.
Chetan Bhatt | Speaker | TED.com