On reading Mamta Banerjee’s comment on Malda I am convinced that the Orwellian dystopia is no imaginary place!
Malda, says Mamta, was not a communal incident but a clash between local people and BSF. This Orwellian Doublethink – a distortion of reality to treat the phoney version as true while knowing all the time that the counterfactual version is actually bogus feeling no cognitive dissonance – discomfort in holding contradictory beliefs – despite the simultaneous holding of contradictory ideas.
Thus inconvenient facts are incinerated altogether and as governance takes place in a dislocated sense of reality where self-serving perception guides actions of those in authority they do not feel the need of answerability because they find nothing blameworthy in their actions.
And such denialism becomes a tool to manipulate public opinion to achieve desired political ends. With the wrong effaced there is no occasion to enforce correction and an illegitimate abdication of authority is yet paraded as governance.
Governance, however, refers not to institutions of authority only but traditions by which authority is exercised and by adopting what the anthropologist Didier Fasin called “the ideological position whereby one systematically reacts by refusing reality and truth” the normative basis for wielding of power is lost.
The “ideals” then move from being spurs to action to being just an empty slogans, rhetoric takes the place of debate and the dialectics of interaction shift away from truth and reason to make a gridlock of chaos government.
Satyameva Jayate – truth alone triumphs – was adopted by us from the Mundaka Upanishad to be our National Motto. Let it not become the Ministry of Truth in the Orwellian novel Nineteen Eighty Four which concerned itself with lies – the exact opposite of what it purported to be – vapourizing both principles and personhood. The social compact which brought us together will then be lost and there will be degeneration into “war of all against all” – far removed from the Utopia we promised ourselves at the stroke of midnight!