Proliferation of lies hallmark of poll campaign
India's is a post-truth society and there should be no hesitation in accepting so. Or, perhaps, our...
India's is a post-truth society and there should be no hesitation in accepting so. Or, perhaps, our post-truth beliefs and practices do not allow us to accept it so. May be. The political culture that has been woven around us since long rendered this society into believing the most unbelievable or tricked us into accepting the extreme narratives.
Unlike in the UK and the US, which have been witnessing post-truth politics from 2016, we have been into it since ages. Now as we are nearing the general elections, the political narrative is increasingly veering toward the absurd with false claims and false themes once again. We cannot expect anything more than this given the current situation in the country prevailing for the last four years and more.
In fact, the very emergence of Narendra Modi on to the national scene was aided and abetted by such post-truth fallacies of development and inclusive growth. This was only sustained by cow vigilantism and demonetisation. The growing GDP was another narrative while our farmers were dying and schools-sans-teachers, medicine-less hospitals continuing to decay.
Hunger, unemployment and crime against women continue to rise alarmingly. Yet, none of these find place in political discourse. A false notion of nationalism bordering extremism is being rubbed into us. Either one has to accept the majoritarianism or perish in this land as an anti-national. Our political culture is such that debate is woven around largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details.
There is a repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Facts and informed opinions are secondary in the campaign of emotive issues. This is the ascendant trait now world over. We are still discussing Masood Azhar and we will keep discussing him for eternity. Election time should have been a time for discussing national security and our preparedness to face threats from external and internal factors.
It should have then logically been extended to discussing how as a nation a policy should have been evolved. But what are we discussing? Modi's failure in handling China, Nehru's largesse to China vis a vis the UN Security Council seat, Doklam, release of Masood Azhar. We also are seeing some fringe players warning the country of another Pulwama type attack. Jhula diplomacy, hug diplomacy etc. are the talking points now.
Is this a contemporary problem? Being an argumentative society, we have been witnessing this for generations. We tend to get emotional and get swayed and elect our governments forgetting the fact that emotional meow-meow will make no difference to our lives. The triviality of our intellectualism gets exposed when we watch our TV debates and read our newspaper headlines.
Proliferation of lies and manipulative content in an abundant supply are the hallmarks of this campaign. Modi's government has shown how key decisions can be completely divorced from the everyday lives of Indians but spun to seem like they have been made for their benefit. The earlier one realises this, the better for the nation. Do we have the gumption to ring in the change?