Opinion: With Propaganda Politics At A Peak, Democracy Is Slowly Vanishing Into Oblivion

Propaganda politics has historically let to the ruination of well-functioning governments. Tactical coercion of ideals upon gullible masses, however, educated they might be, yields laudable results. Even in the very specific case of India, propagandists have offered the general populace questionable ideologies that have enjoyed wide acceptance. When buttressed with seemingly logical reasons, it’s no herculean task to get even the most rational minds to be swayed by irrational ideas.

This is a scary fact. When evidence glares at you point blank and you choose to turn a blind eye, you are either lying or trapped. It’s disappointing that educated youth, well connected with the world around them, fail to comprehend the badly hidden facets of truth served to them at their fingertips.

Some of the most unacceptable innuendos came in, recently, in the wake of the happenings at Kashmir. Instagram activists were quick to applaud our righteous brave heart of a PM, for avenging the Kashmiri Pandits’ blood. Comments oozing with sympathy for the brave exploits of the Indian Army that helped the ‘thankless’ Kashmiris, from Pakistani attacks, figured prominently in my news feeds. Development ideas were vastly being suggested by ‘proud mainlanders’ who, by the way, hailed from places with development indices much lower than that of pre-president’s rule Kashmir.

Pellet attacks were justified as being rightly targeted towards wayward Kashmiri teens, joining militancy, and hence being the state’s enemy. People protesting against the abrogation were termed separatist sympathisers, and as being ignorant masses, ‘misguided’ by the likes of Arundathi Roy. All opposing media channels were branded traitorous and unpatriotic. The detainment of local politicians and journalists was supposedly to save Kashmiris, henceforth from the nepotistic rule, and separatist propaganda. The deployment of a huge chunk of the army was only to save Kashmiris from sudden Pakistani attacks, YouTube videos explained. The media gag, communication blockage, curfew or the imposition of section 144 were overlooked, and in some cases, were even seen as collateral damage.

Unlike NDA 1.0, NDA 2.0 has been rather conspicuous about its ambitions. Sadly, however, this fact does not seem to scare people the way it should. Even staunch Catholics seem to opine India deserves to be a Hindu Rashtra, for our history textbooks, and historically wrong movies taught them India was a Hindu Rashtra, before the West Asians and Europeans invaded, spreading their respective religions.

The Hindus, whom ‘they know for a fact are the only true residents of the country’, they believe were converted into Christianity, through a series of incidents, the likes of which is resorted to by the saffron army these days. Modi and his minions they believe will rid the Church of priests gone rogue.

An ignorant public is easy to fool and that indeed is currently BJP’s greatest tool. Not only are the political fanfares celebrated and upheld as achievements, but the shortcomings are also justified and forgiven. Instagram activists lauding the government for avenging the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits are the same people overtly enthusiastic about the NRC in Assam and Nagaland. NRC, they firmly believe, is the only remaining option to oust the migrant Bangladeshis that have been ‘sucking the country’s resources’ dry. The ‘Bangladeshi immigrants’, (read non- Hindus), were also not spared of the moniker that’s always afforded to the anyone at the receiving end of the government’s oppression, that of ‘Terrorists’. What with the installation of the modified UAPA, the procedure is a whole lot simpler.

Once again, the ‘benevolence’ of India and ‘thanklessness of its beneficiaries’ were emphasised. This trend was also visible in the social media posts that targeted the protesters at JNU. Online trollers shamelessly ridiculed the JNUSU’s demands. But what they did without them even knowing it, was support the fascist government’s ulterior motive of painting JNU protests in a bad colour.

Rational thought has been taking a back seat for a while now, even scientists have relentlessly joined the ranks of religiously motivated ideas and concepts. Democracy is slowly vanishing into oblivion. All values espoused in the constitution are being weeded out. The BJP is enjoying unprecedented support. Their voter base is a rather odd mixture-

1. Sections that were traditionally right-wing, and supporters of communalism, and who know for a fact, the ramifications of the growth of the BJP.

2. Ignorant but educated masses, easily swayed by propaganda, and ready to believe any piece of overly adjectivised article written in good English. The kind that believes in the rosy picture painted by right-wing loyalists.

The inability of the almost non-existent opposition to present an ideological opposition, if not an alternative is costing democracy dearly. As is time and again emphasised, it’s the era of battle of ideas. If an equally potent ideology doesn’t challenge the rightists soon, India will be in chaos.

The enemies of the left have not yet realised the extent of their folly. Their protest for the end of communism and the left front as a whole has left the battlefield open, making it all the more easy for the right-wing to charge forward.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below