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anti national


Looking into the divisive nature of politics in India and analysing who exactly are the winners and losers as a result of it. 

No doubt that politics in this country is toxic. It is tainted with corruption, hate, communalism, and principles that strongly contradict the values of our constitution. The negative light that politics is seen in is obvious in the way that political remarks are made in hushed tones and only within the confines of certain ‘safe’ spaces.

India is a culturally rich country and its richness shows in the opinions held by its citizens too. Despite the negative light that politics is seen in, it is still common for people to engage in discourse and debate on matters of politics, even if it remains within certain ‘echo chambers’ and a result of this is the extremely divided state of politics. It has become too easy to classify and humiliate people by putting them into one of the two categories or labels. The ‘bhakt’ or supporter of the government of Prime Minister and the ‘liberal’ or one that does not. These tags, however, come with a whole host of stereotypes and assumptions that are made about these people, for instance, a ‘bhakt’ would have to have blind faith and no mind of their own, propagate hatred and incite violence and suppress speech against the government while a ‘liberal’ must be a ‘card-carrying Communist’ or be on the Congress payroll and serve no other purpose than furthering the message of the ‘anti-national’, ‘tukdre tukdre gang’.

In all of this name-calling and humiliation of the ‘other side’, we often forget that in this endless trolling and hatred, there is not, and will never be a winner. We are all losers. Being all ‘woke’ and sharing our ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘revolutionary’ ideas in the same echo chambers that we always do, serves no greater purpose to politics as a whole since we still refuse to interact with those who hold opposing views, writing them off as ‘bhakts’ or ‘liberals’. Are we such fragile snowflakes that we can’t bear to hear an opinion that we do not necessarily agree with? Or are we too insecure and used to adhering to one opinion that the possibility of perhaps having a change of heart is a nightmare?

Of course, you have every right to block out a person or group you deem to be toxic or do not respect the value of an intellectual discussion. I am not asking you to invite Hitler to your next ‘MUN’ and try to reason with him, but what we do need is for people to take their opinions and engage in discussions outside groups that agree with everything they say and perhaps have a change of mind. Either extreme is toxic and compromise and incorporating ideas from different parts of the political spectrum is what we need.

Finally, while we bicker and call names, who is the winner? The winner, of course, is not among us. The winners are the politicians who only demonize the other side faction and their supporters and incite the hatred, intolerance and trolling. The same ‘divide and rule’ the British used to suppress Indians is alive today, for while we are caught up fighting each other and being intolerant, we can never unite and call out politicians for their incompetence. Perhaps the Delhi elections were a sign that the country is waking up to this reality with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who campaigned almost completely on divisive politics, facing defeat. So, the next time you go on an Instagram rant about how stupid ‘bhakts’ or ‘liberals’ are and how woke you are, remember that you aren’t winning.


Featured Image Credits: WUSF News

Tashi Dorjay Sherpa

[email protected]


Have we given the government too much power over our thoughts and freedoms?

What is “Thoughtcrime”? Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the fictional city of Oceania and its language, “Newspeak”. To give you some context, 1984 a book by George Orwell tells the story of Oceania, a totalitarian, dystopian state controlled by the ruling party “Ingsoc” (English Socialism) and its mysterious leader figure “Big Brother”.

Orwell’s writing is known to be precise and to the point, usually avoiding the use of intricate language. He was critical of the use of euphemisms and pretentious language, which the fascist regimes of the time used to manipulate or obscure the truth. He believed that literature was meant to be clear and understandable by all.

In order to control the people and propagation of ideas, a new language with a heavily restricted and limited vocabulary, “Newspeak” was created. The Ingsoc intended to completely replace “Oldspeak” (Standard English) with Newspeak as the exclusive means of communication for all members of the party and society, except the “Proles” (Proletarians, or the working class) who were the condemned to a life of manual labour and poverty, and did not concern the Ingsoc. Newspeak, with its odd grammar and structure, fulfilled its purpose by curtailing the freedom of thought, expression, and personal identity while allowing the party to propagate its own ideology and worldview.

“Thoughtcrime” also known as “crimethink” refers to any politically unorthodox thoughts that do not align with the beliefs or ideology of the dominant party, Ingsoc. The group responsible for the detection and elimination of thoughtcrime is the “Thinkpol” (Thought Police) and the punishment for thoughtcrime is death. The Thinkpol employ the use of aggressive surveillance through “Telescreens” which are devices that function as a television, camera, and microphone that constantly monitor party members in public as well as in private. Simply put, privacy or freedom is non-existent, with newspeak not even having words to convey the idea of freedom.

Perhaps you may find similarities between the ruling party of Oceania and our own. The suppression of freedom of thought and expression or the manipulation of language to obscure reality. In the way politicians discuss a matter to great lengths, only to say later claim that they never discussed it at all and change the narrative completely. Or the “Telescreens” of our age, the internet, and social media which have come under heavy criticism for breaches of privacy.

Governments across the world are being accused of surveillance of its citizens and misuse of social media to influence elections and political campaigns. The resistance towards certain government actions, ordinary people taking to the street and students, more politically aware than ever, taking the lead. Maybe some of you have been accused of thoughtcrime by being called “anti-national” or a member of the “tukdre-tukdre gang”. The Thinkpol silence protests and detain people to suppress any thoughts that do not align or contradicts the ideology of the party in power. Perhaps you relate to politicians and leaders claiming that “everything is fine”, unbothered by the common person’s problems, much like the Ingsoc and Proles, or a single party passing rapid-fire legislation while steamrolling an ineffectual opposition.

I believe that we should all form our own opinions. A future without dissent is a dark one, where a single group has supreme power, and no one can raise as much as a question to this group. Oceania had perfected the art of manipulation with an authoritarian government that changed history books and reality itself to suit its agendas. By no means are we there yet, but happenings from around the country are concerning. Silencing of journalists and the buying of media channels who scream the supposed ‘truth’ at us, all while creating an evil image of those who dare question the government or protest. These strategies are working to some extent and their effects can be seen in hostile and polarised opinions held by some. Perhaps we’ve come closer to Orwell’s 1984 than we realise.

‘Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious’ – 1984

Featured Image Credits: Paste Magazine

Tashi Dorjay Sherpa

[email protected]