“India lives in several centuries at the same time. Every night outside my house, I pass a road gang of emaciated labourers digging a trench to lay fibre-optic cables to speed up the digital revolution. They work by the light of a few candles.” – Arundhati Roy
India is a living contradiction in itself, almost everything little to enormous is surrounded by contradictions. While these brazen contradictions may not be visible or at all be made visible to the naked pacified eye, rather if one looks closely, they are bound to stumble upon this pandora box of “have not” contradictions and “have’s” contradictions.
To stalk up the bamboo, “have not” contradictions could perhaps be the existence of nationalistic culture fuelled and driven debate on the preservation of culture feud against western winds and western soft power and culture while also on the same end adopting everything that has “Uncle Sam” written on it in a jiffy per see. OR the dreamy flaring wish of women upliftment and empowerment against an unquestioned historically rigid setting that is brazenly misrepresentational, dogmatic, biased and which terribly reeks of historically preserved patriarchy.
Under the “have” contradictions banner, perhaps the utopic dream of glittering smart metropolitans, superpower talks, lavish lifestyles, keto diets, shimmering lives studded with branded shiny materialist artefacts that trumpet 21st-century whims and dreams and on the other side people in clusters living in shanties, in congested surroundings, with growling stomachs and teary lives, bleakly distant from the 21st-century development discourse, it very well at the same time reminisces one of a very dystopic reality of India on the contrary.
Another paradigm to this is the existentialism of SC/ST/OBC Acts and legislations in the Indian Constitution that holds high regard in the subcontinent, and the whole trumpeted portend of this supposed bygone antic oppressive caste frenzy towards lower castes, Dalits and Adivasis, that according to the state and the general dictating discourse, is persistent no more or reigns in pockets, fringes and fades of the tricolour republic.
While on the rather ironic contrast, every day cataclysmic atrocities and caste fuelled crimes, subjugations which fall out symbolically, practically and or in forms of shrouded caste prejudices in every day walks of life are reported throughout the same tricolour republic by and by also, where manual scavenging which is unarguably the most degrading form of labor, still persists at large and has been adamantly deemed to be done coercively or rather systematically in accordance to the traditional caste hierarchy by people belonging to the lower castes, tribal and the dalit strata according to every fact and figure, not subjectivity.
These contradictions expound upon a few contrasts out of their million other siblings, and how their incorporation into the Indian discourse of “everydayization” that is now surrounded by contradictions of all shapes and sizes that antagonistically mirror each other and perform a deadly dance every ticking strike, yet they are somewhat spared off or brushed from any discussion and solid final resolutions of these contradictions.
However, these contradictions are sadistically and sinisterly crucial to maintain for the idiomatic and selective democracy, democratic apparatus, opportunist apostles, and the privileged more equal than others part bourgeois faction of the tricolour republic and preserved at all costs to keep up with the non vilified way of leaching benefit at the cost of anything and everything from the already existing abysmal caste, class hierarchies and the prejudicial foul air of the silent non vilified supremacist outlook and above all project a very cherubic face of the reeking status quo.
The opium of complacency administered to the oppressed and the common will further only beget much deep and more rooted oppression antics and freedom for the whole state machinery that pillars this oppression in exchange for the opium of betterment, progress, governance, and development. Abracadabra!
Democracy and freedom in status quo ante since independence and the existing status quo has always been limited to petty puppetry of various bourgeois shades of political apostles and their mutt acolytes and the race to the best oppressive incumbent trophy through political balcony tickets called “voting”.
What is democracy in its true sense? Is it limited to electing partisan apostles or is it limited to discussion after discussion or is it limited to the freedom to selective expression and selective speech?
Democracy has been hollowed out and used up until its entirety. This machine has started to consume itself. Its cogs now lie defunct, rusted and old. The regime, The State or as a matter of fact the political apparatus wouldn’t dare even in their wildest dreams to oil its cogs, for they are aware of their grim portending fear that oiling this machinery will beget a revolution. The oiling will beget a realization of oppression to the oppressed and soon the opium will wear off.
However more strenuously than ever, the idea of India lies evermore at a very dangerous and bleak turn while in this humdrum of political opinions we witness that cataclysm of fascist and right-wing offensive forces now run an insatiable frenzy at present, that vehemently and clearly more than ever assures one thing and that is an escalation of already abysmal conditions of what little food for democracy that is left and for anyone or as a matter fact any entity that upholds the so-called constitutional and humanitarian grounds that now is found not be seen in this cacophony of who is right and who is not so right.
Jails and the judiciary except a few red moon times are antics of the ruling partisan muzzling and string-pulling. The strings often always tangle those braving ones who see these strings and who dare not to “strike a chord” with them. The monopolization of violence, muzzling of opinion heterogeneity and annihilation with the state and the executive, while the whole arms firepower with the police and the military brazenly legitimizes any and every form of violence apropos to supposedly avoid lawlessness in the garb of enforcing the interests of a few conglomerates and with all due faith the Indian State.
State violence and incarceration are selective and for the most part is unleashed only on the poor, the powerless, the destitute barring a few halo instances, while the rhetoric for non-violence and dialogue resolution remains for the powerful and the spilling rich.
A status quo that is ugly enough to call landless peasants farming on a piece of land to sustain their growling bellies as encroachers and parasites after bulldozing their crops, their shanties to the ground, executing them as “Maoists” if they resist after losing everything except their skin and bone, while on their other grotesquely iniquitous end calling land mafias, builders, corporates, industrialists who ransack entire villages and communities, burn houses to the ground are trumpeted as developers of modern India who use the Indian State muscle to maim tribes, inhabitants and displace them to fend on bits and pieces in a country which calls itself Independent and democratic.
The Media Firepower plays a vehement role in capturing the very mind and conscience, the media is the silent collaborator in preserving the bourgeois state of affairs and psychologically painting images, stigmas, stereotypes and ideas of what is sedulous and what is treacherously lethal. Manufacturing opinions in boxes with stamps of the state is the best way to deceive a whole country into thinking everything is virtuous and smooth without calling it propaganda per se is a few of perks that come with this model of democratic governance.
This abridged form of democracy in highly neoliberal and a hyper-capitalist gradient and its result calls for what Lenin postulates in The State and The Revolution about free-market capitalist democracies that “Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.” which by and large cannot be easily put aside in a toss when the realization of the same has pierced one’s own mind and the class conscience while vehemently demanding dignity on the virtue of being free in society at large.
It’s imperative for not just the intelligentsia but for everybody to bring the “why is everything the way it is?” question into the mainstream discourse rather than being complacent to every whim of the state.