March 15, 2017

A truth dawns on me



(This post is not about Indian politics!)

We've had elections in Uttar Pradesh and a few other states, and there has been a massive win by the BJP. Congress is all but wiped out. Shiv Visvanathan wrote about this election victory, and concluded his piece with this paragraph:

"The U.P. elections show that the old covenant around the concepts we once held sacred is dead. The hegemony of the BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bajrang Dal combine is almost clear. What we face is what I am going to call the closure of the Indian mind. There are few possibilities of new political dreams. Mr. Modi is offering a straitjacket of a narrow idea of development and globalisation which contain no alternative possibilities, no dissent, no side bets. It is not a post-truth society we are confronting but a creation of a captive mind. This society by choosing Mr. Modi has closed itself to many great imaginations. What we see is not a new generation speaking a new liberated politics but a bowdlerised society oozing simplicities, created by the masterminds of propaganda. India, like the United States, has today become a collection of hard hat minds, facing a tragedy where the aspiration is global but the categories are parochial while masquerading themselves as national. Mr. Modi’s victory signals the victory of the parochial and affordably mediocre over any vision of the cosmopolitan or plural. Deep down it is the future which we have lost today. This is Indian democracy’s most ironic gift."

Reading this paragraph made me feel apprehensive about the future and extremely sad for India and all of us. But suddenly I realised the irony of my own thoughts. For, each of the above statements has been true of my own life where the freedom of mine - and therefore, me - has been in someone else's hands ever since I can remember. Minds have been closed to the possibility of better handling of one major situation in our lives. There are few or even no possibilities for us to dream. We have been offered a narrow solution to handling a universal issue, which contains no alternative possibilities, no dissent, no side bets. Our minds have been captive for a long time...too long. The space around us has been shut to many great imaginations for a great many years now. We too have global aspirations, but invisible walls have been put up at various levels to stop them from entering our minds. Somewhere in the future maybe there is some freedom, but we have lost yesterdays and todays. I revel in my free-spirited lifestyle, but looked at from another angle, this fact makes a mockery of my freedom.

Those who should read and will understand this won't read; those who might read will wonder what I am saying. Let it be that way. Thank you, Shiv Visvanathan, for the words.