Who am I? What is my identity? I am reading a book by Amartya Sen on Identity and Violence and this further made me ask questions in the present context.
I have multiple identities (human, Christian, Catholic, Jesuit, believer of peace and many more). Do I have a dominant identity? Probably at this juncture of my life, Jesuit one is the dominant one. Surely my dominant identity puts me in a separate group and excluded from all the others. Jesuit may be a rigid group, but it is open enough to allow the interaction between insiders and outsiders. I also can be labelled only based on this identity, but others are equally significant in my life.
Occasionally, I might like to limit my identity to that dominant identity and forget the other diverse identities which makes me what I am. At other times, my friends or enemies tries to do the same to me(political parties are the best example) At such occasions of labelling, do I still have the ability to reason out and to make choices that reflects ‘the full me’.
In today’s world of religious fundamentalism and religious hatred, inter- religious dialogue is one of the antidote. When Amartya Sen accepts that it is required and effective, it is not enough. These attempts are only based on the dominant identity. We are much more than just Confederation of religions, we are a collection of people. Why forget to work on other identities which people possess? If we forget to work on them, all our peace efforts may not bear fruit.
When we have conflicts based on one identity(religion/caste/sex/profession), the conflict resolution should include work on other identities and solving the problems related to the conflicting identity.
Peace is the result of multidimensional efforts. We need to work on the multiple identities to achieve it.