This upper-caste nationalist bubble is a nation within a nation whose borders are made out of falsified history, a culture of communalism, casteism, the language of majoritarianism, and the Hindutva ideology. And this shows how borders exist as much in our minds as they do on maps.
What does the outcome of an election say? The causation of political parties promising change in exchange for the power to make those changes. But who benefits from the change? All change is not necessarily progressive. what direction does this change have then? Change that is becoming synonymous with the ideals of ultra-nationalism.
To look into the outcomes of elections one has to actually look beyond the glass of history that is recreated and made foggier day by day. One has to read into the stories of the marginalized communities; Women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Migrants, Persons with Disabilities, and Aged that are so conveniently blurred and chucked aside as devices only applicable for dramatics during election campaigns.
What do we read from, who do we listen to? The irrevocable tendency of the mainstream writers, academicians, journalist . The mainstream media is currently a silent yet noisy Pinocchio hanging from a poison thread.
The elite domination of the media and marginalization of dissidents that results from the operation of the filters and gatekeepers occurs so naturally that media news people, frequently operating with complete integrity and goodwill, are able to convince themselves that they choose and interpret the news “objectively” and on the basis of professional news values. Within the limits of the filter constraints they often are objective; the constraints are so powerful and are built into the system in such a fundamental way, that alternative bases of news choices are hardly imaginable.
-Excerpted from Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky 1988
Kashmir, the Northeast, South India are areas where the native population see themselves as ethnically, culturally, linguistically and religiously different from what is known as the ‘mainstream’. Their demand for self-determination/ self-rule and the armed struggles launched by them are seen as a challenge to the integrity of the nation. It is seen as a state of exception where the idea of suspension of the constitution and human rights violation are validated.
It is this sense of “exceptional situation”, “political chaos”, “civilian protest”, which had led the Supreme Court of India to uphold the constitutional validity of AFSPA in 1997 and using of something as dangerous as pellet guns on civilian protesters. In the eyes of the nation, people who demand separation from the nation become the other and the enemy. Thus, AFSPA is seen as essential for dealing with the ‘enemy within’.
The record of the parliamentary debate in 1958, during the enactment of the black law AFSPA shows that very few lawmakers spoke in opposition to the law. The lone voice of caution against the enactment of this law was that of Mr Laishram Achaw, a member from Manipur. Mr Achaw had cautioned, ‘This is a lawless law… I’m afraid that this measure will only server the right of the people and harass innocent folk and deteriorate the situation (sic).’ The past decades of the application of AFSPA has proved Mr. Achaw correct.
– Excerpted from Blood Censored, 2018.
‘The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “state of emergency” in which we live is not the exception but the rule,’ Walter Benjamin (Theses on the Philosophy of History).
Once in a while, we hear of someone perhaps in a flight performing a “heroic” deed for the honor of the oppressed. In this context “India needs to know” certainly had it coming but at least we forget that civilization should have no need for heroes and saviors. These are symptoms of political inefficiency and results of social inequality. Nobody should be in a situation where they need to be saved in the first place. Who has the power/privilege to be heroic? Idolising the powerful is pathological to us people. You see things to admire where there’s nothing.
Certainly the outcome of elections does not reveal anything other than the fact that people take words at face value because they want to believe the voice that represents their ideology. Our world has changed, India has undergone a lot of changes in the last 60 years. Now there is a need for a critical study to be undertaken to understand why elections as a system have failed. And how the largest democracy will need to fight to uphold the principles on which the constitution was built and to save the constitution itself.