In 21st century India, Margret Atwood’s book “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the TV adaptation by Hulu might be the most prominent story that we need to give attention to if we want to understand the socio-political situation in our country.
A majority of us might not agree that such a dystopia the from “The Handmaid’s Tale” and George Orwell’s “1984” is not applicable to the Indian democratic system. However, the recent events are turning out to be quite similar to what these writers wanted to say.
What scares me the most is not the totalitarian rule of the Republic of Gilead but how the citizens are manipulated to believe that such a rule and a set of conservative beliefs are a necessity to the benefit of the society and nation. Yes, Gilead is a scary imagination but what’s more disturbing is how normal, educated and qualified people believe that the rules inside Gilead are needed to create a utopian world where in reality they are actually restricting women’s rights, freedom of expression and every other human right.
Current world politics is more complex than this story written by Atwood. We live in a digital era where data resources are more valuable than anything. It is easier for politicians to do targeted influential campaigns and it has reached a situation where politicians sell politics and ideologies like products. And when such data resources are used by a fascist leader to influence your emotional weak points, you might not even realise you are being manipulated.
This is exactly what happened in the 2016 US presidential election. In a country like ours where a majority of us are still unknowingly conservatives who have vested interests in religion, faith, belief, culture and nationalism, even the educated minds won’t be able to realise and segregate fascists inside a democracy.
A dystopian society in India is far from reality but this story makes you think that we are getting closer to such a day and if we don’t identify the symptoms, it will be too late and we might fall into the hands of a politician who is an expert in selling fascist policies, better than how Amazon sells you a phone.