With Adhar being forced down our throats for anything and everything, a society increasingly polarized along religious and political lines, fascist chest thumping nationalists committing crimes so frequently that it has become a norm, protected by an indifferent law and order, a government of trolls and ignorant nitwits led by a goblin of a leader… we as a nation are facing doom.
The Adhar, especially, drew parallels with Orwell’s 1984 on how it’d make surveillance easy and for an authoritarian government such as this one… this is a wet dream come true. There are people who’d say that this is all paranoia but considering this government which is at helm, what guarantee do we have from them, who has history of secretly surveilling people and shadow banning people and trends on Twitter, that it wouldn’t do it? Also why is such a hare brained idea with serious technological loopholes being implemented in such haste?
But then arguments in favor of it all is what baffles me. Ache Din they say. Welfare for everyone, no corruption, every one equal in front of law, rainbows and unicorns in sky. Fucking Utopia. Bunch of bullshite.
In such a context, I would talk to you about two books I read this year that taught me that Utopia is a fallacy.
Brave New World speculates a utopian society. Everyone is happy, everyone has what they want and everything is based on logical principles. There is no sadness which cannot be drowned by ‘Soma’. There are no attachments of any kind, be it parent-child kind or husband-wife kind. No attachment, no suffering. There are no free time to sit and contemplate, a person is always engaged in some sort of entertainment or games… always.
In here, Babies are not born but manufactured in labs and ushered into a society with pre-ordained caste system… consisting of intelligent humans ‘Alphas’ suited to the highest positions and conversely, untouchable-like ‘Epsilons’ genetically programmed to carry out menial works.
However, such a society is redundant and marinates in it’s wastefulness. It begs the question that state sponsored happiness at cost of poetry, philosophy and more importantly individual freedom, that is everything that makes us humans, wouldn’t it make us less of a human and more like robots from Westworld? Will society ever evolve without discontent?
While Farenheit 451 presents us a similar future where books are banned. All books are scoured for, thoroughly and burnt, if found. Books single out minorities and point out unpleasantness in the world and hence keep people from being happy. Government has decided that it’s citizens prefer being entertained and feel protected in a false sense of well being than be aware of society, history etc, and hence books must be banned.
There is a government high handedness in deliberately keeping the commons uneducated, uninformed and untaught. They are fed with junk and fake news. There are no intellectual debates, dissenting voices just vanish or maybe die (like certain judges in India).
A good Book or a Film or even a video game are important not because it has any answers to more complex question of life but they make us ask questions… they change our world view, they require complexity of thoughts, they make us go beyond our comfort zone.
Both books introduces us to a controlling government which is vying to keep it’s citizens ‘happy’ by keeping them engaged always with monkey tricks. Both has societies with people overwhelmed with such distractions. And both presents us a supposed Utopia but has something rotten at its very heart. I highly recommend both these books along with 1984 which creates a picture of a society that we are currently in. A Draconian government which undermines democracy with every acts passed, the mainstream media which plods in triviality, the ignorant masses who dreams of ache din and a particularly indifferent and narcissistic leader who comes across as those shadowy villains of the Bond movies.
It’s happening, the society as we know is collapsing in front of us. But of course in a gradually heating bathtub we wouldn’t notice. We aren’t ignorant, we are just ignoring. We don’t know anything better. ‘Ignoring isn’t same as Ignorance, you have to work at it‘.
This government came to power promising Ache Din… but it’s now obvious these better days mentioned are not the ones imagined by a Democratic Republican institution. So the question is… Ache Din of what kind? And Ache Din for whom?
As the commander says in Handmaid’s Tale, another masterpiece in similar vein, “Better (Acche Din?)… Doesn’t mean better for everyone. It always means worse for some”.