Post Mortem

2019 Indian polls ‘Orwellian 1984’: future totalitarian state

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 5/26/2019 11:42:22 AM IST

 A mixed bag of feelings, perceptions and opinions keep surfacing from cross sections of people across the world. Some say that the results were ‘stunning’, while others say ‘expected’. It is in such a context, particularly in the emergent political landscape in India, I am reminded of George Orwell, a renowned futurologists, satirists and dystopian predicted in his novel Nineteen Eighty Four written 70 years ago which became seminal and relevant and eternal moving beyond times and space. For India in the Post-poll 2019 and the years to come “Orwellian 1984 shall be the guide post and goal post that is fixed at least of the next five-years—not changing of the goal post. This is the beauty of those who in their own ways envision and thus communicate, nuance and put their concepts in such ways that makes the readers and analysts to peel layer by layer in order to derive meaning and essence.

“Orwellian” is an adjective, defining a situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. Post-2019 is going to be a defining moment for India—for some their hopes and aspirations be fulfilled in consolidating their identity politics being projected in number of ways, but for many the current scenario presents hopelessness, despair and anxiety. Orwell precisely identifies and thus predicts the emergent factors that bear destructive trends to a multi-cultural, free and open Indian society.  He describes a political system in which the government tries to control every facet and part of people’s lives, similar to that described in the novel Nineteen Eighty Four. 

George Orwell is best known for his 1949 dystopian novel 1984 with its theme of social injustices and a controlling authoritarian government. 1984 elucidates the real-life situations that are reminiscent of a kind of state control and surveillance carried out by “Big Brother” could perhaps be expected in India in the coming days. Government in a totalitarian setting could go to any extent that crosses its limit by abusing its absolute power. The BJP government at the Centre in due course of time could get involved in watching or listening or following its citizens who it suspects or goes against it in tapping the phone calls or watch closely the writing or speeches or whatever may be the modes of communication can best be described as Orwellian.

The government that has been just elected under the leadership of Modi enjoys absolute majority and vested with absolute power and so the power leverage if not moderated could lead to totalitarian dynamic. The emergent landscape is perhaps the most dangerous template wherein power in absolute terms dominates in which the power cliché vis-à-vis the cronies and fringes eventually takes over “power” in totality and thus unleash at those who they consider as “others” and “they” as “non-entities”. Their only justifying point would therefore be the tags that have been constructed as “majoritarian” and “we”; we the “nationalist” and others “against the nation and our brand of ‘nationalism’ and thus be called as “betrayers”. This is indeed ‘Orwellian’. 

Dr. John Mohan Razu


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