Dec 06, 2023
Dec 06, 2023
I am on the threshold of my eighties now and in all probability, I will not live up to 2047 when India, that is Bharat, celebrates the centenary of its Independence from British domination for nearly two centuries.
Hence this imagining of a great event and a great landmark in the history of our country that my children and grandchildren will surely be witness to.
I was just a tiny threesome toddler when the country got independence and there was therefore no way I could remember the great jubilation across the new nation that followed the celebrated Midnight Transfer of Power.
But what I missed then was adequately compensated during my early school years when as part of the curriculum itself I, as also all the children of my generation, came across the luminaries of the great freedom struggle and the sacrifices, big and small, made by a multitude of people to achieve that freedom.
Naturally I grew up as a nationalist in outlook, proud of my nation, proud of its antiquity and heritage, proud of its divergent cultures, its mosaic of religious customs and practices and its variety of languages. I was never attracted to any political party, left, right or centre, and always tried to weigh their words and deeds apropos the interests of the nation.
I think old fashioned people like me belonged to what was once patronizingly described as the Silent Majority.
I had always the feeling that whatever happens to the country, whoever or whichever party comes to wield power, due or undue, the Silent Majority is there as a bedrock of our democracy to save it from disarray, to protect it from disruption.
But, alas, the Silent Majority now appears to have turned very vocal, strident and vituperative in recent years due to the proliferation of the social media platforms. The mass ‘viral’ reactions to any event, political, social, religious or casteist, is instant, abusive and highly intolerant.
Unfortunately, Newton’s Third Law of Motion, that is ‘For every action there is an equivalent and opposite reaction,’ comes to play in the social media as well, causing instant, abusive, vituperative reactions to those comments.
This merry-go-round in abuses, cuss words, four letter words and more letter words then goes on and on, ever widening its arc, like ‘the widening gyre’ mentioned by W B Yeats, and ever intensifying its viciousness to harm social harmony. The unfortunate part of this is that most of the people who take recourse to pedestrian language of abuse against those of other political ideologies or other religions or other castes or any other interests, are all educated people, otherwise well mannered, who can deftly handle the electronic media at their disposal to their most lethal effect.
Many find it their bounden duty to make use of the social media platform to spread as much disinformation as possible, 24 x 7, injecting into it as much venom as possible.
No doubt what is seen in the social media is a reflection of what is seen in the society at large. The two seem to have a symbiotic relationship, one nurturing the other.
The sum total of all this is that the society as we see today leaves much to be desired. That is because Common Good is no more the governing idea or guiding principle, no more the motivation. Every social or community leader, every politician, every businessman, everyone who dons the mantle of intellectual, every journalist, all of them seem to have an agenda to set or scores to settle. The cumulative effect of this is promotion of cracks in the society, cracks that are difficult to be repaired ever.
The present situation in which our society is consciously, deliberately placed by these self-proclaimed guardians of sectarian and divisive interests is similar to the unenviable society seen with a shudder by Yeats where ‘the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity’:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
That is our predicament now. Gaining upper-hand everywhere are the worst specimens, the scum, of the society.
How do we come out of the sorry depths to which we have been plunged by the corrupt, the sectarian, the zealot and the myopic intellectual?
It is indeed a difficult proposition unless politicians show statesmanship, community leaders give paramountcy to Common Good and intellectuals ceased to barter their intellect for petty personal gains.
Our country, great as it is, has the power and the wherewithal to ward off threats from outside. What may prove more dangerous is the enemy within, lurking in our midst, including the religious zealots, the radicals, the corrupt and those in the politics of money-making. Added to them are the many foreign-funded intellectual superstars, NGO gems and celebrity columnists who are life members of what can be described as The Denigrate India Inc.
It will be good if all of us started to Imagine 2047, how strong, how resourceful, how advanced our motherland will be 24 years from now, what position it will occupy then in the comity of nations.
That definitely depends as much on us individually, as on the governments in power in the years to come.
Image (c) istock.com
More by : P. Ravindran Nayar