(Un)democratising Democracy

Image Source: J K News Updates

The eruption of the binary of national/anti-national into the public sphere of our country appears to be a way of (un)democratising our democracy. We as a nation are passing through narcissistic crises that trigger most of us to view everything that afflicts us through the prism of nationalism which itself is not national enough. We seem to have steadily migrated into a society of spectacle that wants to ratify/ enjoy its nationalism by slamming anti-nationalism on its others. A new Narcissus Indicus is born in our country that continuously draws the lines between itself and so called its anti-national other. We can trace this narcissism that masks nationalism almost everywhere in our society. Students in national universities become victims of sedition. The cow vigilante’s brigade simply takes laws in its hands against even imagined beef eaters. The bhaktas of BJP put out posters that may have portrayed Gods in bad light while they depicted the human PM Modi as divine. The army is strong when it comes to Pakistan but becomes weak if questioned by some Indians. All dissent is viewed as anti-national. The sense and the nonsense of this politics of anti-nationalism lies in a dislocated sense of insecurity acutely felt by the one who feels the need to make a public claim of purity of one’s nationalism. I judge someone as anti-national and by that token think that I affirm my nationalism seems to have become the way of becoming Indian.

The phallic logic that seems to be at play in our context upholds the law of the father (ultra-Nationalism ) and appears to say “you are anti-national, therefore I am national”. What is this phallic logic that has held us captive today? It is a repose that we often give when we are faced with fear and anxieties. This fear is described as castration phobia by the psychoanalyst. It is a response that is triggered by a sense of loss. The loss of self that a person/ community may feel in the face of its other demands a recovery of the lost self. This recovery is an actualizing of the image of the other in and through the cultural matrix of the self. Hence, the self carries its own other within it. Thus, for instance, we can discern how the colonial mission of civilization is carried forward in multiple ways by their mimic men who follow the hindutva ideology. This means the self is defined in relation to its other. The phallic logic having its relation to the phallus, (the symbol of procreation/ order of things) in any society is essentially logic of the body. Hence, it necessarily brings a feeling of alignment of the individual’s body with the body of a nation which is brought about by exclusion of its authorized anti-national other. This is the umbilical cord that has to be cut to make one feel that one is national, pure and triumphant. Indeed, we have to examine this new felt need by a triumphant Indian subject to reconceive its loyalties to India by exorcising its other as a demonized anti-national. The colonial demand that said ‘turn white or disappear’ seems to have undergone a mimicked translation that says ‘turn national or disappear’.

The national/ anti-national binary distributes anti-nationality to every opponent or dissident. The nation’s ideal (see it as enlargement of Freud’s ego ideal and ideal ego) is deferred/ delayed in its actualization. It is therefore easy to mask one’s anti-nationalism by calling one’s other anti-national. This means that one imagines that one becomes an ideal citizen/ nationalist by dumping the other as anti-national. While this drama of assigning national / anti-national space continues, what is important is to ask ourselves what it does to our democracy. We seem to feel our nationalism in the event of acting upon that which is deemed as anti-national. This enactment of nationalism and anti-nationalism takes place on the body. What is deemed as anti-national has a profound body relation. Thus, beef eating, dressing of jeans by the women or their entry into pubs, the discourse about the sacrifice of the army, anti-national sloganeering, politics of the surgical strikes etc., all are bodily. While doing this a sharp question arises: Are we enjoying our death drive? Is our democracy being sacrificed on the altar of nationalism and with what consequence? We have to scrutinize these questions so that we can respond to the narcissistic crisis afflicting our society.

It appears that nationalism has become the new opium for us Indians. Under its intoxication, we have silenced all dissenting voices. Every dissident and dissent is construed as anti-national as a result all shades of opposing voices are de-authorized and democracy has been transformed into oligarchy, the rule of elite for the elite. This social engineering that is (un)democratising our democracy remains unchallenged as we odipalise ourselves fearing of being branded as anti-national. But the choice of silence kills all dissent and our democracy loses its teeth. The question is why should we allow these voices of the controlling parents in our society to father us? Why do we fear being orphaned by these de-natationalizing forces? Unfortunately oedipal behaviour of the majority allows a minority to control our destiny. Therefore, it is important that we find our voice of dissent. Democracy without dissent is nothing but the rule of despotic power elite. We seem to be on a fast track to reach this point. All opposition or counter opinion being ridiculed as anti-national, several among us are choosing silence. The hegemonic articulations of the Government pass without opposition because every shade of dissident is framed as anti-national. With no debate, contestation and effective interrogation, the spirit of democracy dies and a strong monologue of the ruling elite begins to hide under the mask of democracy. The mask of democracy is (un)democratising the democracy in our country right in front of our eyes. This is the death of democracy. It is like Freud’s dream where he saw that his father was dead but felt that his father did not know of his own death. In our case, it is we and not the dead father in Freud’s dream who do not know about the death of democracy if it is very functioning. We need to reclaim our right to dissent by contesting the brand of nationalism that deems others anti-national and thus save our (un)democratising of our democracy.

All societies undergo social conflict. Dissent and dissenters are essential components of a healthy society. The crisis that is afflicting our democracy in our country is that nothing can remain open or undecided. Almost everything is foreclosed and determined on the basis of nationalism. The politics of loyalty and betrayal is then played to check dissent. This means that the one who detracts from these ‘salvific teleologies’ is branded as anti-national. Therefore, we may have to ask ourselves: are we unknowingly subscribing to the erasure of democracy in the very practice of the same? Have we fallen prey to the logic of hegemony of the politics of loyalty and betrayal? Unfortunately, It seems that we have become captives of the politics of loyalty and betrayal at play in our society. The hegemony of this politics has weakened our democracy. But we cannot become active signatories of the crumbling of democracy while it is being practiced in our country. We need to understand how our active silence contributes to the (un)democratising of democracy. Maybe the post-Marxist thinkers like Ernest Laclau assist us to understand our pathetic condition. He teaches that politics of hegemony (in our case politics of loyalty and betrayal) has specific dynamics. He says that the power elite captures the empty signifier of the social order and foists its principles on the other constituents of the social whole. Thus, in our context, we can see how the BJP claims that it represents the interest of the Indian Hindus while it simply represents the interest of the corporate in India. But to mask this it foists the politics of loyalty and betrayal. Same may be said of Congress who has cast its nets among the minorities and others in the name of secularism. Both had enjoyed hegemony as active representatives and organisers of totality (of reality) for us Indians. Although, there are alternate narratives of AAP and others, they are still to find their firm foot in our society. With the politics of loyalty and betrayal going gaga, the death of our democracy seems imminent. It is going to come sooner than we expect as we seem to have reached the monarchical totality under BJP where no opposition seems to have the teeth to contest the power of (un)democratization of our democracy that is unleashed in our society.

The impending death of democracy in the very practice of democracy means that democracy is not totally supplanted by the power elite (BJP and its visible and invisible allies) in our country. It is in the mask of democracy that they hide their interest and present it with the veil of patriotism and hence cannot be opposed without being chastised as anti-national. That is why we may have to painfully agree that we have become an ensemble, a silent multitude unable to interrogate the dying democracy around us. This domestication and the taming of the multitude in the power of the politics of loyalty and betrayal calls for a resistance that will inscribe dissent and dissensus as the essential way of being an Indian. The discursive totality has to be broken. The salvific teleologies of the ruling BJP and its visible and invisible allies have to be deconstructed. Being fed on the so-called lost golden past , the BJP and its allies propose to recover the lost golden past for us in the coming future. Thus, it has successfully created a desire of the sublime that is yet to come, the so-called the Hindu Rashtra. Faced with the forever delayed coming of the pure Hindu Rasthra, we Indians take different positions which move from one of celebratory expectations to those that see it as gloom and doom. The discursive totality that has disabled and arrested our thinking of the alternatives has led us to feed our egos on the fantasy of the ‘second coming’ of the Hindu Rashtra (even when there was no original Hindu Rashtra). What we have is only a counterfeit copy which is being flashed at us. Thus, the discourse of one nation, one law, the surgical attacks, terror and Pakistan has captured our minds and we have lost sight of farmer suicides, the OROP struggle of our Army men, atrocities on dalits, women, tribals and other minorities in our country. We have been craftily anaesthetized and led into a collective amnesia under the maya of counterfeit copies of the sublime, the Hindu Rastra.

While we are given a hope of the return of Hindu Rashtra, whose fore-glow seems to have put us into a state of numbness, a narcissus Indicus has become opium of the masses in our country. We seem to be happy to enjoy it being enacted in the images that allow us seeing ourselves migrating into the PM while he holds the sword or plays Ram or Krishna much to the ecstasy of the mindless public both in huge mass rallies as well as often stage managed and even doctored images in the television. Thus, the withering of our democracy under the cover of a nationalism that is denationalising a sizable part of our citizenry with the arm of politics of loyalty and betrayal remains undetected. The fact that we do not seem to notice the eroding of our democracy shows that we seem to have suffered what is called the messianic arrest of our thought. We have found a messiah who will bring good days for us and we are happy waiting for the rising sun which never seems to come on the horizon. The corrosive poison that is crippling our democracy is already corroding us. Some of us have become active foot soldiers of the intoxicating ‘sublime’, the Hindu Rastra. Therefore, we may have to ask a difficult question: Can our democracy and the ideology of Hindutva cohabit without bringing any mortal harm to the practice of democracy in our country? Is Hindutva the opium that kills our democracy in its practice? Maybe we have stepped into a mystification that has converted our democracy into an Ideology. When a discourse and practise legitimates and justifies oppression and presents it as a sine quanon or the only available option, it becomes an Ideology. It places the oppressive condition as the only alternative although it may be imperfect. Thus, it put foreclosures on every other alternate response to our precarious condition. Hence, we need a new leap of consciousness or a new upanishadic watershed that will contest the political abuse of our religions and cultures in our country. The West saw it in the French revolution and the enlightenment. Perhaps, we have to take a long march to restore real democracy in our country. Our loyalty and betrayal is visible in the practice of democracy and we can see who is really loyal and who betrays the interest of every citizen of our country.

Led by Karl Marx, we thought that that ideology distorts our reality. We think that it is something which is blurring our straight view. But today scholars like Slavoj Zizek teach us something completely different. He says that ideology is not something that is introduced from outside of us. We in a way enjoy our ideology. We resist getting out of it. We seem to have to be forced to be free from it and it is discomforting and painful. He says that we are already eating the thrash from the trash can that we may call ideology. Maybe we might understand this with the help of a film. The film, ‘They lived from 1988’ is one of the forgotten masterpieces of Hollywood. It tells the story of John Nada. Nada in Spanish means nothing. It stands for a subject deprived of all substantial content. Nada was a homeless worker drifting around; who one day happens to enter an abandoned Church and finds a box full of sunglasses. When he puts on the glasses something strange happens. The sun glasses begin to function like de-ideology glasses. They allow him to see the real message beneath all glitz, propaganda and publicity. Thus, when he watches a hoarding that says ”have a holiday of your lifetime” with his glasses on, he sees a grey inscription on a white background that says: ‘marry and reproduce’. When he puts the glasses on he begins to see dictatorship in democracy. It is an invisible order that seems to sustain our apparent freedom. The truth is that we seem to live a lie.

The paradox is that we ascribe an absent invisible quality to everything. There is this absent excess in everything. This is how we feed on ideology. Thus, for instance, the burning of the effigy of PM Modi as Ravana on Vijayadashami day has offended some baktas because they seem to step out of the ideology enjoyed by the students and see the excess meaning that is hurdled on the effigy due the symbolism of Ravana and the choice of the day. It is as if this baktas and others had the luxury of putting the de-ideology sun glasses but only in this isolated case. Is that really so? Or are they really feeling the discomfort of standing out of their own ideology (even for a short time) which seems to have a temporary fall? Things are truly complex. Maybe we are led to detect our own enslavement to our ideology when faced with a temporary collapse of the same. It is as if the scales in our eyes fall and we seem to wear the de-ideological glasses and are enabled to see our plight for a brief moment. It is like the stain that blemishes the canvas that sustains our ideology laden picture of our life. Today when we are living under the command of a narrow hate ridden nationalism which several among us have begun to enjoy because under its command we seem to feel an experience an absent presence of a quality that we consume with a sense of triumph and a feeling of being ahead of those that can be viewed as not national enough. Yes, we seem to enjoy the obligation to live a nationalism that is soaked in our religion cutting across all religions mimicking the (Lacanian) big other, the Hindu nationalist even when our big other may ridicule our nationalism declaring that it is not national enough. The big other approves and legitimate the satisfaction of desire. The question is how we face the enjoyment of the big other, the triumphant Hindu nationalist? Majority among us enjoy the miming of nationalism that copies the enjoyment of the Big Other while several others enjoy producing alternate nationalisms which are different but mark remarkable sameness to the tenor and texture (form ) of the one enjoyed by the big other. All enjoy loving their motherland but in different ways some in approved ways others in contra and rebellious ways to the way of the mainstream big other.

The reigning Hindu nationalism has produced its other nationalisms soaked in religions, castes, regions etc. This means that nationalism has become an ideology. We can only detect the ideology of the other and fail to see our own staring into our eyes. India is living under the command of nationalism and we seem to be enjoying it like a coke that never really satisfies our thirsts. The vital issue is to discern what this ideology laden shades of nationalisms that can be identified among the different national and regional parties in the political spectrum are doing to our democracy. We may have to put on the de-ideological glasses to understand the strangulating damage that it has done to our democracy. It along with the economic policies that we pursue seem to have converted the practice of our democracy into an ideology. That is why what afflicts our society is nothing but ideological battles centred around the nationalism legitimated by the big other (the Hindu nationalism). Urgent issues like rising prices, farmers suicides, black money stored abroad, growing unemployment, denial of OROP to the soldiers, atrocities on the dalits, minorities and tribals etc do not have a place even in our prime time of our television. In this scenario, the dissident and any form of dissent becomes an offence against the nation. We cannot see the love of the nation that triggers the dissent. But over-simplifies it as anti-national. This means we can violate our democracy but cannot stand the violation of the spirit of nationalism which of course is not embracive of other nationalisms. Ironically, this ideologically laden narrow nationalism urgently requires de-ideologizing glasses. Who will provide us the same? We seem to have been taken captive to this desire for the coming of the pure nation that always remains absent. It is the mysterious something absent that remains in an anticipatory form in the enjoyment of a nationalism that drives the practice of democracy. It is like the kinder surprise egg enjoyed by our children. The chocolate egg carries a surprise gift, the inner treasure that we get for free. Likewise, we chase our democracy and what we get today is the lure of the surprise gift, the promise of pure nationalism that always fails to satisfy like the surprise gift hidden in the kinder egg. In some way, we are infantilized and have become children fighting over an intoxicating drive for a coming of a perfect nation unmindful of the destruction of democracy in the very practice of the same.

We have to discuss this issue more closely. What are our political parties doing to our Democracy ? The political context in our country seems to have become a contest of the same. Each political party is trapped into playing the other of the same for us. What does this mean? Maybe an example will assist us to illustrate this dynamic. BJP seems to play the role of Congress. We may ask: what is wrong in being the other of Congress? Ostensibly, there appears nothing wrong at its face value. If one looks at these dynamics profoundly with the help of psychoanalytical tools, we may get an insight into the politics both in our country and my home state Goa. This means we have to attentively discern the question of the other raised by political parties inhabiting our political space. Another way of looking at this vital issue is to study how the many are subjugated by the one in our political scenario. Here we will have to interrogate some of our assumptions that uncritically hold that the one has to be over many. Therefore, what is many will have to become a copy of the one. The many thus are hierarchized and kept second to the privileged one. Now, in a multi-party democracy like India, it would be interesting to trace how all parties have played second to the one that is regarded as the original archetype. This original archetype becomes the background for the rest of political parties to claim their political space from time to time. The political landscape being dynamic, the one that assigns the rest a second position keeps shifting. Sometime ago the one that occupied this dominant position was Congress. But things have changed today. At present the privileged one that has pushed every other party in a secondary position is undoubtedly the BJP. Within our political landscape, every other major political party like the INC, NCP, AAP and the rest are playing the role of BJP and in a way playing second to it. Hence, we seem to be trapped in a familiar discourse of ‘ tu tu mein mein’ between and beyond the voices that have become second to the first (BJP).

In a political scenario where one ensnares the other to be second, the political discourse is set by the one and every other voice becomes its echo at the other end of the spiral of communication. This means in our contest, the political discourse is mainly set by the dominant BJP that has also usurped the apparatus of mass communication. Even when the secondary (like Congress, AAP, Goa Forward in the Goa ) contests and interrogates the discourse of the dominant one, the secondary other can speak only within the discursive framework of the one (BJP). This does not mean, the secondary other does not have to contest the dominant discourse. Indeed, the secondary other in our political landscape is not a monolith. Neither does it have to merely generate a counter discourse that remains imprisoned into the discursive frame set by the dominant one. It however has to raise a new discourse by changing the discursive framework at play. The change in discourse has to be simultaneously counter-discourse to the political discourse of the dominant other and dismantle the privileged location of the imperial one (the BJP). This is the only way of breaking the chain that pushes the authorized parties to be others of BJP. Hence, instead of becoming relatively good copies of the Imperial one (The BJP in our context), each political party has to strive to dismantle/ derail the dominant and dominating discourse unleashed by the imperial one. Democracy should be the reversal of many over one but we seem to be hooked by the regime of dominant one over many. This is why we seem to be replicating the same old corruption under different labels where each political party becomes nothing but the other of the same. Maybe, we have to rethink the relation of one and many as a plural relation of many and not one over many.

The political reproduction of dominant one over secondary many can be arrested by extricating the authorized others from the dominant one. This will open us to the plural relation of many and is truly a democratic practice. It is only by refusing to be the other of the same (one) that true democracy can flourish among us. This means the plural of the many finds its sovereign voice and does not merely echo/ repeat the voice of the dominant one. The change of discourse that will reverse the regime of one over many has to transcend the discourse set by the dominating one over the rest. Therefore, in the context of the simmering political situation in Goa, we have to ascertain which parties are best suited to change the discourse that can dismantle the dominant one. We have already found that the Congress seems to have lost its unique voice and has somehow settled to be the other of the dominant BJP. Hence, it fails to inspire confidence to unsettle BJP. The politics of playing the other of BJP cannot succeed because the people of Goa have several viable choices which they lacked during the last election wherein BJP craftily played the other of Congress. NCP also appears to be playing the role of Congress and hence, the political space it enjoyed is shrinking very fast. The independent legislators who won last time cannot become invisible players of the BJP once again. With MGP apparently dancing to the tunes of BJP and reinforcing the discourse set by it, we seem to be left with AAP and Goa Forward to usher in the change in discourse that will unsettle the ruling BJP and its (visible and invisible ) allies. Hence, the question boils down to the fact that determines whether these two parties will become sucked into playing the other of BJP and die the Congress way or would they come together as two distinct voices that refuse to be the other of ruling BJP and stay together without being the other of each other. The anti-corruption of AAP may not be enough to set a new discourse to unseat the ruling BJP. Besides, sometimes AAP has been appropriated as the other of BJP that would only lead BJP to power. Hence, its anti-corruption stand along with the Goa-centric core ideology of Goa Forward that seeks to make the people of Goa as the sole high command seems to have seeds of destruction for the BJP and its (visible and invisible)allies in Goa provided they refuse to be merely the others of BJP.

Life is not easy. Emergency is emerging on the horizon. The midnight war on black money is yet another manifestation of the growing totalitarianism of the Right in our country. The sudden demonetization of high denomination notes has shown mixed reception. The Government and its cheering team celebrated it as a bold step to check black money. Some even have gone to the extent of calling it a surgical strike. The manner in which the ordinary people of all walks of life reacted at a simple petrol pump, only shows that it cannot be equated to surgical strikes. Surgical strike only attacks the terrorists and not innocent people who may inhabit close to the territory under attack. This midnight strike is more closer to terror strikes as such attacks target also the innocent. With 80% of the currency in the market being that of the high denomination, this demonetization has affected almost every citizen of our country. Almost all opposition parties have questioned the timing of this attack while leaders of TMC have threatened to file a PIL in the high court in Kolkata. Social Media is full of people who see conspiracy in the action. Some see the hand of Ambanis and draw a parallel with the 31st December which happens to be the common day for the closure of the free scheme offer of Reliance Jio as well as the deposition of the notes of high denomination in the bank. Others like Akhilesh Yadav think that the mid night attack has a political motive in view of Uttar Pradesh elections. Some extend this motive even to elections in Punjab and Goa. Those in the legal field, like Advocate Jamshed Mistry and Jabbar Singh have moved the Bombay High Court alleging that the demonetization was an illegal act as it was done through gazetted notification. They claim that demonetization could be done only through an ordinance or amendment of the High Denomination Bank Notes Act 1978.

It might help us to examine the effectiveness of the mid night action through a calm and critical lens. The demonetization is not new to independent India though it has been greeted as an unprecedented action. Such an action was taken in 1946 and 1978 respectively. The difference at that time was that the banning of very high denomination notes like 1000, 5000 and 1000 did not affect the poor as in those days the poor never ever saw these notes as they amounted to a huge sum of money. The difference of demonetization that we are facing today affects everyone, particularly the poor. Almost all the opposition parties have raised this issue. Some may argue that the government’s action ridiculously renders the poor as responsible for black money in our country. In a single mighty stroke, the Government has made all Indians guilty of black marketing. This indeed is unprecedented since our law threatens the hardest criminal as innocent unless proven guilty. In the context of the mid night attack, in a single stroke every Indian has become guilty unless proved innocent of black marketing. Hence, the social legality of this action leaves several questions unanswered. Though the end is portrayed as noble in a short term and beneficial to all Indians, including our poor people in the long term, the means that are employed seem to fail to convince several among us. But we must ask deeper questions. How does the criminalizing of the possession of even a single note of high denomination check the parallel black economy? The presumption that seems to underlie this action is that notes of high denomination constitute black economy. Such a presumption appears to be faulty. There is more to black economy than simply notes of high value.

To understand this we may have to put on the thinking cap of Karl Marx. Indeed, we can safely say by expanding the ideas of Karl Marx that he would regard surplus wealth that is accumulated by the capitalist as dirty money. Just like black money is the surplus that is generated without paying the legitimate taxes to government, Marx saw surplus capital as being generated by denial of the legitimate payments to the workers. Marx did not find fault directly with money that is merely the means of circulation and accumulation but drew our attention to the means of production that produces this inequality and surplus value. The fact that the black money is the surplus capital that is generated without paying legitimate taxes cannot be debated. But by mere withdrawal of notes of high denomination is not going to affect the means of production of this surplus and parallel black economy. Real surgical strikes should have attacked the means of production and not means of circulation. The midnight attack may have somewhat derailed this black economy but has not destroyed it. It can mutate and transform fast. Moreover, accumulation of wealth is not entirely accumulation of notes of high denomination alone. It involves accumulation of gold, assets and even business etc. Hence, so called surgical attacks on the black money is ill fated to become toothless against the mighty black economy that has deep roots in our country. The demonetization of high denominations might choke the black economy for a moment but will not destroy the means of production of black economy in our country.

Some of us have welcomed the so-called bold move of Modi Sarkar. The issue is will the same Sarkar have the required spine to outlaw the black economy that funds the political parties in our country? All Parties with a very few exceptions receive donations in cheques. When shall we have cashless donations being made mandatory to our political parties? By their own admission, BJP as well other parties receive more donations in cash than cheques. This suggests that the political parties to which the Modi Sarkar and allies belong are vulnerable to the acceptance of money generated by black economy. When the ruling political parties appear to be neck deep beneficiaries of the black economy and would want it to survive, this simplified action of withdrawal of notes of high denomination appears to be only a short term distraction. Moreover, the introduction of even higher denomination notes amounting to 2000 seems to send wrong signals. It seems to tell the poor you cannot have bread so eat cake. The withdrawal of high denomination could generate deflation and thus monetarily check inflation. But the coming of Rs. 2000 in the market might reverse these little benefits that the poor may get from the midnight attack. All in all, the midnight strike is not a celebration of freedom at midnight but appears to be an (un)freedom forced on us at midnight.

Is there a life after democracy? Democracy is flawed but it is better than any other mode of Governance that is on offer. Do we have too much representation and too little democracy? What have we done to democracy? Have we hollowed all meaning out of democracy? Is our democracy emptied of its meaning. It seems that democracy has mutated in its very practice. Death of democracy is hidden or disguised in its practice. The practice of democracy not only disguises or hides the death of democracy but also disguises the act of hiding. This means it hides the disguise. Thus the guise of democracy guards what takes place secretly and keeps it sealed from the people at a secret place. Thus, the secret place is a place of silence and hence no one can speak about it. It enters the unsayable and the unutterable zone because it hides something dead. Our democracy is kept alive but as dead through the practice. The practice of democracy has become the secret hiding place that disguises both the dead democracy and the act of hiding its death. Democracy is the living dead and is enjoying life after death. Unfortunately, the afterlife of democracy is castrating our citizenry.

What is being hidden in the very practice of democracy is that which we all seem to know but cannot speak without slipping into blasphemy. Democracy is already displaced and is displacing us continuously. The phallic logic that runs it forces us to odipalize and we choose the latency of silence. Democracy seems to have become a word that lies. There is censure inscribed on the texture of democracy. The censure demands complete obedience without any shade of defence. The democracy that we enjoy gives less political, economic, social and religious freedoms. We cannot question the Prime Minister, our Military, our economic policies and religious freedoms. All this demonstrates and manifests the censure that inhabits the very texture of our democracy. These different censures seem to guard us from detecting the absence of democracy in the presence of it. We seem to be living in a society that has kept democracy under erasure. (Un)democratising democracy in our country is gaining momentum by the day. We have slipped into an undeclared state of emergency. Can we diagnose this painful condition or shall we stay mum numbed by the intoxication of nationalism or the oedipal response triggered by the fear of the very goons that are actively destroying our democracy?

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao