The sky line of Indian cities is rapidly changing fragmenting the azure sky and so is the imagination especially of the Indian middle class fragmented between KFC and McDonald’s, Nike and Adidas, Coke and Pepsi and many others. The ability to think beyond branded thoughts is a vanishing trend and sometimes made illegal by the state. The new trend of the young generation is to roam in shopping malls, where artificial smell of cleanliness lingers in the air, away from slums and dirty roads. They want their cities to be clean, slum dwellers to be evicted, primates to be captured and sent to the North East where it is a delicacy (those are not familiar with this kind of dish just google and look at the statement of a government official who gave it as a solution to clean up the monkey business for the commonwealth games).
As the stench of economic crisis gets stronger and ruins the clean air the middle class helplessly pins their hope on the seductive charm of Finance Minister to lure investors and save the day, oblivious of the fact that their country is being looted of its resources by foreign hand displacing tribals from their own land illegally. Or perhaps, it is the price the unfortunate must pay so that the metros of India can become Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Paris, London as it is a long cherished dream of everyone from this class of the society. But this cannot go down to the history books as an illegal eviction sponsored by the corporate sharks as it will malign the image of the world’s most powerful. So history has to be repeated, facts have to be distorted and wars have to be waged with a hint of desi flavour.
Ignorance can be the weapon of choice, a weapon of “mass” destruction. All throughout the ages this weapon has been used as a cover for imperialist goals and denouncing any dissent against the state as anti national. Such an example is Columbus day which is observed every year on October 12th with much pomp in all Europe and Americas. Few remember that on this day Columbus didn’t discover America, he invaded America which signalled the start of a genocide unprecedented in history – the racial cleansing of more than 100 million Red Indians in North America and 60 Million in South America.
One mustn’t forget that in 1886 Theodore Roosevelt, the US president, in his speech declared that only good Red Indians are dead Red Indians. Even before this Andrew Jackson, the US president, passed the Indian Removal Act on May 28th, 1830 to authorize the removal of Indian tribes to federal territory west of Mississippi river. Thus a country which was built on genocide and slavery, today establishes democracy in other regions of the world by dropping bombs and looting natural resources. All this is possible because of flourishing ignorance and misinformation campaign.
This is not the only example, every war waged by powerful nations was made possible as ignorance gave rise to jingoism and mass hysteria of insecurity that was injected into the minds of the middle class. Every decade after the World War 2, the world saw the most powerful nation wage war with one excuse or the other. As famous Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano aptly observed “I am astonished each time I come to the U.S. by the ignorance of a high percentage of the population, which knows almost nothing about Latin America or about the world. It’s quite blind and deaf to anything that may happen outside the frontiers of the U.S.”
Ignorance is bliss and youth is addicted to it. It is not surprising as Albert Camus pointed out “Truth, like light blinds us. Falsehood on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.” When ignorance reaches an extreme level in form of hysteria falsehood might not be a beautiful twilight which enhances every object, it can afford to be really brutal. All this can be passed very efficiently by corporate media as a fight against terrorism, a way to protect “democracy”. One can see the rising trend of jingoistic hysteria in India regarding issues on Kashmir, unrest in North East and tribal uprising in central India. All these are condemned as anti national movement and obstacles of democracy and development and are dealt with gruesome force cheered by the middle class. The only legal dissent are those which are sponsored by corporate, everything else is banned. Thoughts have to be branded like in the far west where cowboys brand their cattle, unfortunately only in this case ignorance acts as the painkiller.
While the second biggest land grab after Columbus is in full flow in central India, the nation sleeps living in their make belief world not knowing that their freedom has been snatched already and they are zombies at the hands of the powerful few.