CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx

OPINION


Jumlanomics:Chronicles of a Post-Truth Bharat


"The Oxford Dictionaries define "post-truth" as "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." - Lee McIntyre, Post-Truth

The BJP government will soon complete its five-year tenure at the centre and by this time, we the citizens of India have come across a lot of jumla from the PM and his party. The Right has created an environment of post-truth in Indian politics, and historicity has taken a back seat with overzealous bhakts running the show.  

Jumla is a colloquial Hindi-Urdu word that became popular in social media almost four years back when Amit Shah made a comment about Modi's assurance to the people of India about retrieving "black money" and crediting the bank account of every Indian citizen with 15 lakh rupees.  

This offer that Modi made was a political jumla according to Amit Shah: an obviously exaggerated statement made during the election campaign. If we look at all the pre-election promises of the PM and the BJP, they have all turned out to be jumlas or empty promises.  

Such techniques use a form of commentary or narrative that twists facts, or present 'alternative facts' as the Trump-led Republicans in America term them, and are the essence of a post-truth world. A "normal" citizen or state subject becomes victim to these manufactured and construed versions of facts, which gradually make their way to our routine life-world through emotional manipulations performed by the media. The post-truth condition is established when such news becomes the norm of a society.  

Historically too there were plural and often dichotomous belief systems fighting one another to seize control of economy, polity or society in India, and besides outright violence a reason for Brahminism's success has been that its proponents could design the most efficient jumla of all. Brahminism never aimed to topple or destroy the existing structures, rather it manipulated them, building upon the existing system, adorning it with its discriminatory ideology topped by its most virulent feature, the man's right to power through Divine Law.  

The "Brahmin" being the mouthpiece of God "himself" ordained himself using pseudo-spiritual jumlas, and suppressed the systems that contested it through violence and administrative-level trickery. How was this possible?    "The media represents a world that is more real than the reality that we can experience. People lose the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. They also begin to engage with the fantasy without realizing what it really is. They seek happiness and fulfilment through the simulacra of reality, e.g. media, and avoid contact/interaction with the real world." - Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation    

In the past, it was the divine scriptures that simulated their cultural authority and today it's the digital medium that's simulating the authority of jumlas. The only difference being that ordinary people back then never could fully understand the nature of these practices that was controlling their lives, categorising them into models of purity and impurity. Today, we are in a state of constant awareness - if not complete - of these models of control, but this awareness itself is pacified by the conflict of binary relations.  

Our nation has become one big Disneyland of simulations. All sorts of violence, be it in the name of food, religious beliefs, caste tensions, corruption charges, farmer suicides, nationhood etc. have become so normalised and intermixed within the post-truth environment of the media and so-called social networks, that we have immersed ourselves in the recumbent consumption of anarchy and disorder. The order of things manifests itself through simplistic and binary forms of narrative, with the centralised power structure weaving more jumlas around us, so that we get entangled, confused and dazed like prey caught in the web - pun intended.  

In this digital age, we are made to believe that our present reality is full of political binaries based on religious extremism and administrative incapability on one end, and the masculinist phantasm of the religious sacrosanct and cultural puritanism propagated through Hindutva on the other. What we really ought to understand is that Hindutva is a political ideology that leeches our rational judgment through provocation. It can only exist by creating a binary, a system that has to have opposing qualities from that of a radical Hindutva disposition.  

This vagrancy of rational reasoning is the product of an ideology created under the tenets of fear: the fear of losing a cultural, political vantage point in Independent India.  

The internet has in a way fostered these preconceived notions, of taking sides within what is given to us by a hegemonic (fully accepted) structure. If one chooses not to be part of this, one is branded with various labels like neo-liberal, apolitical etc. We are failing to listen to others - often labelling them ourselves - and are more concerned about how our opinions are received and appreciated or countered by others online.  

Lately, Modi faced a lot of flak and even became the first prime minister in the history of Indian politics not to hold even a single press conference. At the same time, inside the media industry there are pro-Modi factions who design news and narratives that try to boost Modi's putative charisma.  

This is a classic example of how our media construe narratives that defy the rationalisation of a political and historical continuum, in order to mould an individual or communal personality cult.  

We are faced with two options here: either to believe or to ridicule these narratives. But both work towards garnering popularity for the prime minister and his right-wing government (to use another binary).  

What we fail to realise is, this idea of good and evil is no longer relevant in the post-truth world. We are all living in a world that doesn't care about any absolutes, does not allow us to engage with the question of an absolute good or bad, but thrives instead by creating the conflict in us to choose a side.  

The most recent and last nail to the coffin was the Pulwama terror attacks and the events that transpired afterwards. The news-entertainment channels had a field day, with augmented reality representations of the Pulwama attack and the supposed counter-attack in Balakot. (Though not Pakistan's retaliation in Nowshera.) As viewers or as citizens, we were trapped in this conspicuous consumption of information floating through various propaganda narratives. There were reporters raging through the media, ending up most of the time as warmongering hypernationalists, though they claim and are supposed to represent a critical view of such sensitive issues.  

We are all caught up in this giant jumla, a world of empty promises and blown up achievements that is destroying the intellectual and critical prowess of a nation - of many nations. When the prime minister with his oratory skills blazes ahead with his 'pakoda lecture', citizens throw verbal slurs at each other through social networks and channel discussions trying to prove or disprove the rationality of the comments made by the PM.  

Meanwhile, the administrative transgressions happen underneath this furore of words. Deals are made, businessmen commit frauds, politicians enact their puppet roles, mystery mobs lynch people, and the world keeps spinning in an endless abyss of power's lies.  

None of this is to say that governments before this one were righteous, morally driven systems of administration. It simply means that the Right has very decisively crossed a line of pragmatic politics that somewhere had a resonance of social transformation and progressiveness. On the way they just made sure that we all remain in this dark cave that Plato feared humanity would get stuck in - staring at shadows, or the shadows of shadows - and the irony is that we are only too happy to be stuck here, contemplating the next Facebook status to be put up on the wall!  

The author is a PhD scholar at Pondicherry University.  

OPINION

  • River in a 'Court of Law' - Legal issues pertaining to its personality
  • Syria: A Testament To International Moral Bankruptcy
  • When the State Sought to Muzzle Privacy, U-Turn Now Only to Accommodate SC Verdict
  • The Bull in A China Shop Wrecks Indian Economy
  • When Buddha Looks The Other Way: The Plight Of The Rohingya
  • A Fatal Blow to The Judiciary
  • The Dramatic Rise in Wealth Inequality
  • Wild And Baseless Speculations of Crisis in the CPI(M)
  • Budget 2018: Fantabulous Schemes With Not A Paisa Earmarked
  • Kasganj: Sankalp Foundation and the Politics of Hate
  • PM Modi Sounds the Election Bugle: Congress and Hindutva the Agenda for 2019 Polls
  • The US Game Plan in Syria
  • Both Nehru and Patel Were the Need of the Hour in 1947-48
  • The Battle of the Two Begums of Bangladesh
  • Why Bangladesh Matters
  • Kejriwal's Apology is Not What the Media Claims
  • Arrest of a '5-minute Dalits' Proves Why SC/ST Act Dilution Will Grossly Impact Real Dalits
  • The Dalits and the Law
  • Winners May Be Losers In Karnataka's Catch 22 Endgame
  • Jinnah and the BJP
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (Nov 14 1889- May 27, 1964): We Still Live In A House That Nehru Built
  • Implications of Trump-Kim Summit: Nuclear Pays!
  • Thomas Reuters Foundation Survey: Measuring Safety, Generating Outrage
  • ROADMAP TO A CEASEFIRE: AFGN - PAK
  • What Are People Voting for?
  • Foreign Policy: A Double Whammy Awaits India
  • Changing Discourse
  • Assam: The Mythology of "Immigrants"
  • Imran Time is Here
  • 71 Years on, Forsty Relations Countinue
  • To Stop Climate Change, We Need to Open Bordera
  • Make Use of Bid to Postpone Provincial Elections
  • Cringing and Fuddled at 71
  • Ensuring Strident Voice Will Not Become Majority Voice
  • Nehru, Vajpayee and Modi
  • Religious Bias Okayed
  • The Oslo Accords: A Bloody Legacy of Betrayal
  • Crushing the Campus
  • Three Stories And Task of The Office Of Missing Person
  • Drama Over Indo-Pak Meeting
  • An ill Wind
  • Symbolic Actions Alone Are Insufficient For Long Term Change To Occur
  • If Democracy Subverts Itself
  • Returning Land to Civilians is a Promise That Needs Follow Up
  • Democracy In Crisis: What we Know and What we Don't
  • Reparations Office Can Bind The Nations Together
  • Implementation Challenges Facing The Ayushman Bharat Program
  • Subverting the Central Bank
  • Under the Yoke of New-Imperialism: A Fake War of Patriotism and Treason
  • India Joins the Club
  • The Third Phase
  • President is Best Situated to Resolve Political Crisis
  • No Country for Adventure: Challenges Extreme Sports Athletes Face in India
  • Setting A Perilous Political Precedent
  • What Rahul and Modi can do in the Next Four Months
  • Finding a Win-Win Solution to Break the Deadlock
  • Temple in the Age of Colliders
  • Four Parameters of a Political Solution at This Time
  • Resolve National Question With President's Support
  • Decapitating the Leadership
  • Four Takeaways From the 2018 Election
  • Science of Words
  • The Ace up Modi's Sleeve
  • The Government Must Not Deny The TNA
  • The Prolonged Wait For Justice And For Political Leadership
  • Endgame in Afghanistan
  • Pluralist Ethos is More Relevant to National Identity
  • A Concerned Citizen's Points For Inclusion in The Manifesto of Political Parties
  • In My Own Voice: Circle of Unreason
  • RBI To The Rescue of Modi Government - It's Election Time!
  • Say No to War
  • A terrifying Fallout
  • The Type of Leadership The Country Needs
  • Death Wish as Nationalism
  • Politics on Kashmir Need Not be About Optics Alone
  • Why an Urban Job Guarantee Scheme is Not a Bad Idea
  • National Security: The New in 'New Normal'
  • Re-Promulgating an Ordinance is a Fraud on the Constitution
  • Elections 2019: India at a Crossroads
  • Peace and Inclusive Development
  • NYAY Providing Basic Income Fulfills the Vision of Mahatma Gandhi and Changed Election Narrative Based on Basic Issues
  • Advani Should Blame Himself For Promoting Modi
  • Kashmir: Tracing the Degeneration of Mainstream Politics
  • Elections and the Issue of Civil Liberties
  • Jumlanomics:Chronicles of a Post-Truth Bharat
  • BJP: Hiding Failures, Targeting Nehru
  • A Mayawati Moment
  • Godse is a Synonym of Hindu Nationalism, Agenda of the RSS Combine!
  • Development Beyond Numbers
  • A Rational Approach to Countering Extremist Violence is Needed
  • In My Own Voice: Is This the Sprit of Democracy?
  • Prevention is The Best Migration Cure
  • The Rise of Hate
  • The Right Mantras for India's Change
  • Coming Home - Where Family Overpowers All
  • Easter Sunday Bombing Used to Create a Major Rift in Sri Lankan Society
  • Hacking Humanity
  • Environmental Rule of Law in India
  • Peace is a Word That West Has Taken From Afghans
  • Trump's War Games
  • Modi & States
  • Who is an 'Outsider' in West Bengal?
  • China on Maps
  • 19th Amendment Will Correct Itself at End of President's Current Term
  • Authoritarianism and the Crisis of Public Ethics in India
  • Presidential Candidate The People Want
  • Has India's Kashmir Cape Given Pakistan Reason for War?
  • Icons and Ideology of Religious Nationalism
  • Why NRC in Assam May Create Another Kashmir
  • Campaign to Abolish the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka is a Red Herring
  • As US Tries to Isolate Iran, China Steps In
  • Of Hindi and Hierarchy
  • Why Sri Lankan Elections May Bring Far Reaching Change
  • What US Policy Tells Us About India's Growing 'Friendship' With It
  • Gandhian Philosophy is a Critique of Modernity and Power
  • Inner Party Democracy is Just as Important as Funding
  • India's Foreign Policy Has Dug Itself a Deep Hole
  • 'Broken Promises' and Politics of Hate': Is Political Autonomy The Way Forward For J&K?
  • The Ninth Betrayal: America Has Let Down Khurd, Yet Again
  • Who Benefits From The WhatsApp Hacking Case?: Pertinent Question Left Unanswered
  • State Elections Results Expose "Limits" of BJP's Nationalist Agenda
  • "Religious Belief" vs. "Rule of Law": Did SC's Ayodhya Verdict Legalise Building of a Theocratic State?
  • What Does Trump's "New Refugee Ban" Mean for America's Immigrants?
  • India Must Change Course as Rajapaksas Return on Sinhala Buddhist Wave
  • The Supreme Court's First Judgment Without an Author
  • Geopolitics in South Asia Renders Millions Stateless
  • "Shakespeare's Vision of the Improbale" Unfolds: Is Modi Today's Macbeth?
  • Sri Lanka Under Rajapaksa: Finding Areas of Mutual Agreement
  • "The Game of Religion is Played by Men": Women Speak From the Margins of Ayodhya Dispute
  • Telangana Ecounter- Failure of Local Police Poses Grave Danger to Democracy
  • The Changing Nature of War and Diplomacy
  • Sri Lanka: Government's Cooperation A "Temporary Phenomenon"?
  • The Role of Corruption in This Season of Revolts
  • New Citizenship Law to a "Brazenly Divisive Agenda"
  • Youth Agitation Against CAA Brings a Historic Generational Shift
  • "Digital Authoritarianism": With Internet Shutdowns Normalised, the Digital Space is Democracy's New Battleground
  • Sri Lanka: The Challenge of Development Amidst Devolution of Power
  • The Political Divides that Split India
  • 'Never Again': Echoes of Nazi Crimes Remain Alive 75 Years After Auschwitz
  • "Legacy of Mutual Suspicion" Plagues Opponents of the Modi Regime
  • "Toxic" India Sliding into an Environmental Abyss
  • Manufacturing Hate: From Anurag Thakur's 'Shoot the Traitors' to Pistol-Bearing Youth's 'Yeh lo Azaadi!'
  • Kejriwal Isn't Communal, But His Desire Not to be Seen Anti-Hindu May Prove Self-Defeating
  • Religion States Won't Oppose US-Taliban Deal
  • Lessons From Pathogens: Coronavirus, A wake Up Call?
  • The Geopolitics of the Covid 19 Pandemic
  • Cold War Begins As Nations Fued Over Coronavirus
  • India Fights Coronavirus...With Scriptures, Morals and Police
  • The Burden of COVID 19
  • Do Israeli Settelemnts in Occupies West Bank Constitute a War Crime ?
  • The Global Debate on COVID-19 Lockdown: Listen to Divergent Scientific Voices or Risk Manipulation by Big Businesses?
  • Sri Lanka's Easter Bombings And The Demand For Justice
  • How India Can Solve the "Catch-22 Situation" of Allowing Migrant Workers to Return Home
  • The Time for Universal Basic Income Has Arrived
  • COVID-19 Crisis Exposes Fatal Weaknesses of 'Strong' Leaders
  • The Pandemic Has Taught Us the Importance of Maintaining an Ecological Balance, Will we Remember IT?
  • The Muslim Elite Has Let Down the Muslim Poor
  • "There is Nothing Nationalist or Non-Nationalist in Reporting"
  • Why WHO Took 3 Months to Declare a Global Pandemic
  • A Political Lockdown That Silences Voices
  • The 'Relief Package' of Online Education May End up "Institutionalising Drop Outs"
  • Can Democracy Survive the Coronavirus?
  • As China Ups the Ante, This is What India Must do...
  • Tackling Racism With Compassionate Reporting-CNN Leads The Way
  • Sri Lanka: Pluralism In Governance Required In The Absence of Parliament
  • Idia's Tactical Non-Solutions To China's Incursions in Ladakh
  • "At The Brink of A New Cold War": Sino-US Ties at a Crossroads
  • In Light of Rising Conservatism, Can The Personal be Political Again?
  • India-China: The Complete Breakdown of Trust, How and Why
  • Rethinking Development After Covid-19
  • The Pandemic Must Transform Our Agriculture
  • Treacherous Road to Make Manu History
  •