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The Joke is on Us- A Sorry Commentary on Indian State

The State, Nietzsche said, is the coldest of all monsters. The state derives its authority from the number of people it  claims to be participants in its formation. Standing on the collective conscience of people or rather trampling on it, it roars and claims as Nietzsche say, "I, the State, am the People", which he states with definitive confidence; the State lies thereby. The state which truly represents the people do not need to proclaim the same from the rampart of a decaying fort.

The state protects all its people, irrespective of the number that they add up to, and it stands guard to the loneliest of the soul. A state does not succumb to the flattery of masses or to the threat of uprising, it is benevolent, kind and impartial. That as per Plato is the first stage of a State, when it is an individual, where it coincides with the choice and aspirations of an individual. That is the state which when finds dissent, tries to cajole and convince. Second stage is that of Extra Individual which considers itself to be righteous and correct and does not seek to obtain the approval of those it represents. It governs with an aura that it does not need to use force to subjugate individual dissent. The last stage is what Plato terms as a beast, which derives its power of governance from the threat it emanates. The individual neither identifies with it nor respects it (and vice-versa), it yields the power with less restraint and lesser thought to perpetuate governance. It forgets that the very masses on which it exercises the power, are the source of it.
It neither recognizes the power of citizens nor its own grandiosity. It stoops down too much, and looses any sense of introspection. It falters, and people points out; it shouts them down, call them traitors and tries to mute them with brute force and then falters even more. Following the Law of Broken Windows, once I had read in reference to Mayor of New york, (On a street, if there are multiple glass windows, they will survive vandalism till the time one of them breaks and is left that way for people to notice), it takes note of what it can get away with, and it pushes the envelope of misdemeanour further. It sticks itself to the symbols of national pride, to hide away from public anger. This is something we have recently seen when under the garb of supremacy of parliament, politicians condemned the mass movements, only to be later seen on the wide media entering into fist fights in the premise of the same hallowed building. Those who promptly get the Cartoonist, Amish Trivedi, arrested, have no answer to the mercy petition of those who literally attacked the parliament, lying unattended and unaddressed for last ten years or so. It is a government, which has noticed what it can get away with and has lost the ability to introspect. It refuses to act on corruption and when forced to act, it rushes to claim credit for the act only undertaken under force. It argues with those who do not appreciate, not because it feels it has done something worth appreciation, but simply because it is governing. Intoxicated by unhindered access to power, having forgotten any ability to introspect and amend, it gets angry at any attempt of criticism, believing itself to be some kind of Divine ruler of ancient times, even if the one to criticise be a literature of much wider area of presence than the land which the Government governs, like Washington Post. It throttles the new media, the social network under the garb of maintaining law and order.
True the rumour mongers created havoc and people started migrating like there is no tomorrow, at least not at the place where they were living for decades, earning a honest life in earnest. The government uses the plea to threaten the social media, the cognoscenti applauds. Do we ever pause to think, if we ever get a message, or tweet that foreign armies are going to attack and run over our forces on border, will we rush to the bank to get all our money out and run to another country. We will not, because we trust our soldier more than we trust any such mischievous rumour. You can not eliminate negative, you must overpower it with positive. You can not fight ill-health by removing it, you need to bring in good health. People panic and run off, because they do not trust the law an order machinery to be able to protect them. We address the symptom and do nothing about the cause. The event which should have brought the Police reform, making it independent of political bosses, out of closets, is merely used to gag the media. The life goes on, people get scared, I write this with a thud of scare in my heart, as the Cold beast stares down at the large mass, from which it has come out of, and which he no longer considers himself to ever have been a part of to identify those it wants to use to set example of. I write because it swells in my heart, I remember, when I had worked with a Chinese telecommunications company, I was awed by their aggressive patriotism (when the whole organization was sitting at their desktop to watch the Bullet train in China, faster than the one launched in Europe) and their growth in Industry and technology, there was one thing which helped me feel better than them, in India we are free to criticise anyone we may please, without threat. Today, I feel, we are fast losing that edge to our closest competitor. It was freedom, which made us feel equal or superior to them, irrespective of number of kilometers of roads they build, number of ports they build and number of Megawatts of electricity they generate. They were getting richer, we were falling short on our attempts, we were poor, without drinking water and electricity, but still, we were happier and proud of being much free than they can ever imagine. Today I have my confidence shaken, I do not want to meet my Chinese friends, as I can not look at them in the eye, I am worried, but I had to write this. This I owe it to my daughter, it is a perennial existential issue a father has to resolve, you can not be afraid even when there are reasons to be, not when your daughter is looking. We are on the edge of prescipice and we have to dig our feet in to stop sliding.
Epilogue: S. Ravi arrested for Tweeting against Karti Chidambram, son of a UPA minister.
farcical arrest of S. Ravi for tweeting against Karti Chidambram

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