Skip to Global Dialogues Full Site Menu Skip to main content
Georgetown University Georgetown University Logo

Uncovering Utopian Unity: Ranjit Hoskote's Exploration of Global Identity and Solidarity

By Meerna Yamut

May 15, 2024

In Response to Towards a Cosmopolitanism of Repair

Ranjit Hoskote's exploration of the theme "Towards a Cosmopolitanism of Repair" presents a depiction of our current global situation—a time when the world is largely divided by neo-tribalism and its rapid increase. This situation is one that creates exclusive and restricting forms of identity and calls for a more inclusive vision of varying identities, especially those of the Global South—or as Hoskote often refers to them, the “Other.” There needs to be an ideological shift wherein people are more open-minded and accepting of educating oneself on each other’s identities and cultural aspects. This sentiment aligns with the spirit of the Non-Aligned Movement, a movement where countries are neither aligned nor against any major powers, promoting consistent and objective dialogue with what is not common, the different, the “Other.” It is to not subscribe extremely to one identity and closing off to what the rest of the world has to offer. Hoskote, in fact, condemns this as he challenges the notion of cultural exclusivity and superiority, driving us to accept and delve into the plurality of the world we live in with an understanding and conscientious perspective. With this approach, diversity can be not only achieved, but celebrated at the same time.

Monumental in advancing Hoskote’s argument is the refusal of the dualistic “either/or” pattern that neo-tribalism promotes. He suggests, instead, a cosmpolitanism that is characterized by being vulnerable, mutually respectful, and cognizant of the “Other.” A wonderful term is ascribed to this idea by philosopher Michael Marder, “flowering-with.” I could not think of a better way to put it: to place a positive connotation on what means to not only grow, but flower, a symbol of prosperity; and not growth by oneself, but with. I believe the term perfectly depicts that this type of prosperity is one that can be accomplished through collaboration if not only through that uniting method in itself. Flowering with other identities, countries, and cultures promotes global openness to one another with a vision of development in mind, a belief that satisfies both the mind and soul.

To make this goal one that is realistic and applicable, Hoskote mentions "insurgent cosmopolitanism," as expressed by Boaventura de Sousa Santos. Insurgent cosmopolitanism calls for transnational unions that go against the hegemonic grain and uplift the voices of the excluded and silenced, specifically from the Global South. I think that this is a necessity, considering the current economic and political climate, as a single dominant perspective is imported to most developing countries with either consequences or rewards awaiting those impacted based on their level of acceptance. Hence, it is critical to accommodate the diverse instead of imposing the mainstream.

At the heart of Hoskote's argument for a cosmopolitanism of repair comes an advocacy for unity in the face of hardship. It is a robust reminder of our fading sense of shared values and humanity that strives to create a more equitable and fair world, producing hope for the upcoming and current generations to engage in dialogue, invest in peace, and mutually respect each other to fill in the cracks of our broken and distant global society.

All in all, Hoskote's essay powerfully stimulates the adaptation towards a new ethos of universal intercultural communication. A global climate that fosters acceptance, empathy, and solidarity. It is finding community in diversity, a profoundly integral Georgetown value.

Meerna Yamut (SFS’24) is a senior at Georgetown University in Qatar.