, 28 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
Regardless of the veracity of the terror threat in #Kashmir, that the government used it as subterfuge to prepare the ground for its dramatic steps is now beyond question.
Yet, among all the din of jubilation and paeans to the ‘making of history’, the fact that the government most probably misled the people over the nature of a terrorist threat is now almost an irrelevant aside. #Article370 #Article35A
As the ruling party rightly anticipated, people don’t seem to mind being deceived. This acceptance to lying with a “mixture of gullibility & cynicism” is reminiscent of d totalitarian societies Hannah Arendt described in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism. How #Fascism work
We are at a stage where deceiving public, a matter so normalised & inconsequential that even opposition doesn't deem it worthy of questioning. Hardly anyone even took note when home minister lied in parliament that #Kashmir leader Farooq was not in detention. #GoebbelsGhafoora
Words of Arendt so aptly resonate with our present moment, it's worth quoting in full:
“The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day,>>
& trust, if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting leaders who had lied, they would protest, they had known all along, statement was lie & would admire leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”
To gauge how accepting society has become of such lies, let’s recall another episode. It is now long forgotten that PM, Modi accused Congress party, including the former prime minister and the vice president, of colluding with Pakistan to win the 2017 Gujarat elections. #lies
Without providing a shred of evidence, the prime minister made up the story that Manmohan Singh and Hamid Ansari had met, and conspired with, Pakistani high commissioner & former foreign minister at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence.
Number of trained Goebbels in BJP-RSS!
It was such a fantastical lie that BJP didn’t even defend it after elections. However, what was incredible to see was that few people seemed to be bothered that their PM could so brazenly lie about the former prime minister having committed treason. This was their sound #Logic!
It was such a trivial matter, that the BJP didn’t even feel compelled to apologise, instead issuing vague patriotism certificates to impugned leaders. In words of Arendt, perhaps most people just admired Modi for his ‘great tactical cleverness’. #Fascism best for Megalomaniacs!
When the truth ceases to matter is when we begin to slide into the abyss of a totalitarian society. It is true that most politicians distort truth, and are not above the occasional falsehood. “No one has ever doubted that truth & politics are on rather bad terms with each other,”
<.. as Arendt wrote. But what distinguishes a totalitarian society, according to Arendt, is “systematic mendacity”, an attempt to replace reality with pseudo-reality.
News media, & social media such as WhatsApp, have been weaponized not spreading lies, but for what literary critic George Steiner called “historiocide”, destruction of historical-factual reality. When Nehru, Gandhi become popular villains, #Distoraction #destroyed #History
it’s safe to assume that most people getting their history lessons fm what they are fed by WhatsApp & TV news than from authentic history books. Writing on BJP’s election victory for New York Review of Books, author Sonia Faleiro succinctly captured the role of the media: >>
“The mainstream media, particularly cable news, amplified the BJP’s message & drowned out the opposition. They editorialised the news, started rumours, and spread lies. Truth was an illusion, and everything was propaganda.” >>
Society where propaganda replaces reality, other vices soon appear, such as what George Orwell termed as “doublethink”. Doublethink, the act of simultaneously holding two mutually contradictory beliefs to be true, is vividly exemplified in our current discourse on Kashmir.
You can believe ruling party claim, many people in Kashmir welcome drastic changes forced, while supporting, keeping them in a continual lockdown state.
Laud Modi’s speech for “reaching out to Kashmiri people” while knowing, they have been cut-off fm all outside communication.>>
Even though #Kashmir was better placed than Gujarat on several indices!
You can hail ruling party for having successfully tackled terror over the last five years, while also believing that the security situation is so grave that it justified Extinguishing the state of Kashmir!
Ruling party ‘masterstrokes’ will end all conflict & terror. support further “militarisation” of the most militarised zones of the world.
The beliefs seem bizarre, but are natural in a context where stranglehold of propaganda prevents genuine ground reports fm escaping Kashmir.
All shown on channels r ’embedded’ journalists reporting “calm”, “peace” fm hotels, police stations. Or occasional vids of NS Advisor talking to locals, staged with subtlety that would put North Korea to shame.But most well-crafted propaganda doesn’t work in absence of reality!
According to Arendt, truth is besieged because people don’t want to face, recognise, accept or believe it. It's not just d ruling party, but also ordinary people who accuse few remaining independent journalists of spreading ‘negativity’ & maligning the nation. #Fascism in worst!
This craving for self-deception was at the root of the “gullibility of the European people” to totalitarianism, Arendt believed. In the absence of self-control and self-determination, people crave for the “consistency in reality” that ideology can provide. #Totalitarianism >>
Sociologist Satish Deshpande ascribed popularity of Modi regime to “lifting power of its ideology” vanishing “the bleakness of present & immediate future”. At a time when economy is weak, unemployment high, Deshpande contrasts the “pulling down force of reality” #Sociología >>
and the “raising force of ideology”. “Hindutva has to be – so loud and shrill, because there is so much it has to cover up or distract attention from,” Deshpande remarked.

As we drift away from Gandhi’s India, we must remember horrible atrocities in 20th century Europe #Hate >>
were all based essentially, on this contempt of truth, blind embrace of ideology. Gandhi perfectly understood this essential relationship between truth & non-violence, which were d twin basis of all his politics. In a sense, our contemporary politics represents d polar opposite.>
To struggle against assaults on constitutional, democratic protections, opposition must not yield to tempting logic of “populism” but rediscover this Gandhian preoccupation with truth. Yielding to “populism” the opposition confines its politics to d illusory world of propaganda,>
and thus ends up legitimising it. Only by a consistent direct assault on this world of propaganda, can the opposition undermine politics of d ruling party and, in time, shift the popular opinion in their favour.
#populism can't #FightOn #Fascism, #honesty can
They must begin by telling the truth of the horrible situation in Kashmir, and of whole process of deceit that enabled this daylight robbery of their democratic rights.
(Asim Ali is a research scholar in political science at D,U.) #BJP Distorting #History #SaveMe
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