We seem to be socially mutating at a fast pace. It appears that we have lost our ability to comprehend reality as it actually exists. We have reduced the love of religion to the love of the nation and are unable to know the difference. We have begun to enjoy and live the simulation of reality. We have lost our grip over the real and are not aware of our plight. Mass media continues to feed us into this illusion. We only experience edited reality. Unfortunately, we have slowly become edited people. The tragedy is that there is no innocent child to call that the emperor is without clothes. Reality is produced for us as we seamlessly live into a hyper-real world.
The global pandemic has aggravated our condition. Our Governments are behaving like schoolboys concerned with their report cards. This has led to the denial of the severity of the scale of the pandemic. Numbers are sanitized to make their scorecards look good. Instead of managing the lethal pandemic, our Government got lost in managing its image. The numbers that are thrown at us do not seem to be real. They appear to be doctored to hide our incapacities to handle the depth of the crisis. Questions regarding the numbers and profiteering from the pandemic are still relevant even as we have crossed the milestone of a million cases in our country. We are indeed consuming a simulated reality, even as the lethal virus is putting our feet on the ground.
We easily take the copy for the original. Often it is a copy of a copy. This means we have entered the world of simulacra. A copy has replaced the real. This is why the image has become the be-all and end-all of politics. Recently, Banu Pratap Mehta in his column on Indian Express, ‘Where’s the Leader?’ made a forceful point that under COVID-19 crises, the leadership is missing when he said, ‘India is heading into uncharted waters with no leadership at the helm, just the simulacra of a one. In fact, we seem to be entangled into a Maya of simulacra. We seem to be living in an image generated world. It divides and images us into binaries like nationalists and anti-nationalists, sanskari Hindus, and other Hindus, majority and minority.
The fact that the divisive bullet is already fired, we then look at everything through this exclusionary myopic lens. It opens the drawing board of belonging to India. Every person that we come in contact takes the classification that puts him or her among the sanskari nationalists or others that include the anti-nationalists. This means we are mutating while we deal with the simulated reality around us. This constant self-examination to count among the elite sanskari ones renders us self engrossed and we fail to question the leadership that destroyed our economy, divides our society and robs us of our peace.
The fact that Nehru has become a monster to be flogged in the discourses of ruling benches starting from the top is also an indicator that we have stepped into the Maya of simulacra. It appears weird but we consume this discourse with great delight. We seem to enjoy this war on reality waged by the ruling BJP. We have exchanged reality with the perceived reality that is artfully generated to enhance the power of the ruling party without having the responsibility of performance. We mindlessly embrace the substitution of the real that is generated by distortion, spin, omission, and crude falsity. Unfortunately, we are unable to discern that we have become victims of constant propaganda, spin narratives, myth-making, and psyops.
We are living an organized deception that seems to control how we think and act. We can notice that such a war on reality has acquired global proportions. It is waged mainly by plutocracies or anti-democratic parties who grab power to further the vested interest of corporations. We do not have real democracy but an appearance of it. Our rulers have killed it. Rajdeep Sardessai said it aptly when he declared that our parliament has simply become a notice board as bills are passed with no discussion and debate. The ruling elites employ think tanks, intelligence agencies, PR firms, social media trolls and bots, and mainstream corporate media to expand profits and stay in power through centralized control. These forces have cleverly exploited the communication revolution and the emerging network society that is unfolding around us.
As thinking citizens, we have the imperative to rebel against this war on reality and refuse to consent to the manufactured world around us. Even our silence is dangerous. Our non-participation benefits the ruling minority. This is why the goal of trolls in social media has always been to assure our non-participation in the political process. All that is required to support their lies and injustice is our silence. Hence, we have the challenge to refuse to become sedated and numbed and get out of our echo chambers and critically discern the deception that is being played in front of us.
It is important to understand our descent into the world of simulation at a time of coronavirus. Just like an innocent person can be viewed as a terrorist or anti-national because of his/her religious affiliations so also any person would simply double up as a COVID-19 carrier. The real then will be replaced as the copy and the copy will then be treated as real. Thus, instead of chasing the real virus, we may end up chasing a simulated one. This is why we have to see through the theatrics of the ruling benches that are putting up fudged numbers in front of us.
It takes courage to see that something is going wrong, that things are not really adding up but are falling apart. We need the courage to stand up to the organised use of fear generated by violence and riots and a consistent injection of the poison of hate that divides our country. Time is running out. We have to quickly put our act together and disrupt the emotive theatre, a spectacle that is played to boil our blood and increase our pulse while a minority is benefiting economically. The hate machines need to increase the anger, hatred and pride quotient of our society and we need to fast understand this game plan. Majoritarian politics is not at the service of the majority. It is another Maya that buffs us. Majoritarian politics only benefits an economic minority while we stand divided, emotively fatigued and intellectually deceived. We have to see through these tactics of amplification of base emotions and find individual and collective ways of resisting them. This means we have to find ways of dismantling the reigning neoliberal theocratic autocratic corporatocracy that is depriving the great religious tradition that we call Hinduism. We have to do this for the sake of our democracy, our constitutions, our ancient civilization and our nation. It is time to stand for real Hinduism and save it from dying into a Hinduism of simulacra (Hindutva).