Fed with regular doses of spectacular distractions, promise maker Modi creates a deafness that enables a culture of silence that is fast becoming the cornerstone of India. With these carefully scripted distractions the majority are lulled into accepting the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason. The 9 to 9 sacred lights lit at the auspicious time stipulated by astrologers is similar to the sacred fire lit for Nehru on 14 August 1947. (Tai Yong Tan and Gyanath Kudaisya). Both fires, timing and sacredness is endorsed by brahmin astrologers; the 1947 sacred fire a precursor to the ‘tryst with destiny’ declaration by Nehru the socialist and the 2020 lights a curtain raiser to the creation of a national front in the fight against COVID19 virus. Nehru’s declaration was a socialist dream, while Modi’s call reified the emerging cult of the leader asserting the political will of the ethnic majority over Indian democracy.
The biggest danger to democracy arises from bigger-than-life leaders in politics (Ambedkar). And small wonder when the supreme leader starts thinking of himself like King Canute who waved his hands at the rising tide. The reality is that like economic waves, the spread of corona virus is currently uncontrollable and sought to be managed with darkness and light. The prime minister is now behaving like King Canute, who futilely waved his hands. Now the promise maker is creating Idiots by Darkness and Flattening the Curve with Light, the sacred fire, diya and mombatti.
Switching off power, and lighting candles do not usher in a disease free India. Inadequate health care strategies will ensure the rural landscape is lit with funeral pyres, and dotted with fresh mounds over graves. While people look forward to India flourishing the emerging tyranny has no theory of hope to implement. Outspoken critics have been silenced, sent to prison, including Anand Teltumbde, Rona Wilson, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, and Varavara Rao. Voices of dissent are stifled by the rise of subjects, being local cadres of enforcement, including shadow operatives dancing to please the tyranny. Response to tyranny must be a severance of the subjective bond that ties the ethnic majority to the dominant power that ‘enthralls, seduces, blinds and mesmerizes the people’ (Etienne De La Boetie). Needless to say, it is the active acquiescence of the subjects to the diktats of the Delhi Sultan that constitutes the tyrants power.
In the 9 minutes after 9 diktat, the Promise Maker has woven an illusion for the subjects, infantilizing them to participate in the myth of a nationwide fight against a virus, another enemy. Thus in any resistance to the tyranny the people need to turn their back onto the Promise Maker, and withdraw their active support. Turning their backs will enable them to perceive the illusions created as evidence of Modi’s weakness and vulnerability . The refusal to switch off the lights signals the overcoming of the fear of freedom. A cultural of silence encouraged by the tyrant and abetted by the voluntary servitude of the ethnic majority. While voluntary servitude being the building block of a tyranny, the emerging will of the population to be free is signified in the resonating pan India protests. This desire to no longer be subjugated denies the building blocks of tyranny.
Dazzled by authority the ethnic majority relinquishes their liberty for wealth, positions, favour and structured immunity from prosecution. This exemplifies voluntary servitude to the dominant power in India being bartered for illusory gifts. In this quid pro quo the ethnic majority surrenders their natural desire for liberty, and severing the free bonds that existed between the people. This voluntary relinquishment of liberty is symbolised in the switching off the lights ushering in darkness. Needless to say, the entire population hoodwinked and dominated is transformed into obedient subjects. This distractive darkness is deliberately created to generate an illiteracy, submerging critical awareness thereby quashing the ability to know and respond. In this constructive darkness there is a creeping appropriation of liberties that needs to be brought to light and resisted. Resistance against domination begins when the people recognize the inbuilt temptation to relinquish liberties is the foundation of tyranny now being imposed by stealth.
Subjugated people pave the way for a democratically elected leader to be intoxicated with his own power who naturally edges towards tyranny. The vacuous declarations, exhortations, and timed silences are the tip of the brahminical chicanery constantly proclaimed by the Prime Minister to create a collective subjugation. Arising from a submission to abstract, fixed religious ideas the brahminical political domination curbs the natural ability of the people to think and respond. Coupled with this religious idealization is the idol of Modi the authoritarian leader whose adoration constitutes the ‘relationship of the individual with other members’ (Sigmund Freud), forming the Modi bhakts. While the COVID19 epidemic relentlessly spreads, Promise Maker Modi’s arsenal to resist the spread of disease consists of 0.55 beds per 1000 people, 35 tests per 1 million population, and indefinite wait for Personal Protection Equipment kits. It is in the backdrop of glaring healthcare inadequacies the PM distracts the people by urging them to ‘light the lamp.’
The battle front opened against the epidemic must be seen as another lure of distraction spun by the tyrant idolized by the ethnic majority Freedom is not in the charm of the hyper masculine tyrant, nor in the aura of lamps and chants of the priesthood. These chants ought to be disrupted, the right questions needs to be framed to expose the seductive spell of power, bluster and spectacle as illusions that infantilise.
Vinod Kumaar Edachery is a graduate in law, works in Sharjah and believes free markets create inequality.