It’s unlikely Narendra Modi doesn’t know India’s streets would be occupied henceforth under some pretext or other. How does Modi beat back this wolf dressed in lamb’s garb?
The Nature of Enemy
Let’s first know the enemy. This enemy believes in taking over the public space. Their defence is since we are public, we don’t need permission to occupy public space. Thus begins a form of civil disobedience, howsoever minor.
It refuses to recognize the legitimacy of existing political institutions or legal order. It’s call is for Direct Action but is couched as ‘Citizenism’. The defiant insistence is acting as if one is already free. These Public Spaces soon turn into encampments.
A new slogan to create new institutions, new society, the New Democracy gets underway—even if it is inside the shell of the old. They operate as if they don’t have any internal hierarchy. That it works as a consensus-based direct democracy.
These Public Spaces become a Republic of its own, with its own kitchens, clinics, media centres, libraries, food courts, gyms and even entertainment lounges in due course. The society is polarized, social order deformed and Radical Left has gotten a new kiss of life.
It’s been over two centuries since John Adams, a founding father of the United States, uttered: “There never was a democracy which didn’t commit suicide.” This model of democracy is sold as one of Athens but in essence is one of Rome.
That is, if one was a society decided and run by the citizens, the other was one run through the representatives of the citizens.
Democracy such as ours could be sunk without a trace or rendered meaningless.
When civil disobedience occurs, the Rulers go less for batons and more for concessions which ends up abandoning their own reform agenda and alienates the majority of citizens who have elected them.
The majority wonder if the Rulers were necessary in the first place.
Soon enough, the Rulers go, their party is discredited, its business as usual, for the nation is taken over by corrupt and greedy, and colonialists resume their stranglehold on nations which they had once sucked dry.
The mode of enemy
It should be apparent to Modi by now that use of force is not an option; and relying on India’s judiciary is trusting a straw to swim across an ocean.
He also has to concede that disinformation is effective—700 dead farmers, for instance—and masses are lazy.
That refutations are seldom effective. The time lag has already conceded that advantage to disinformation monsters. You can’t be fighting a fire-emitting dragon with your squirt of truth.
That propagandists have the advantage of first impression. It’s rarely overcome. The audience is already primed. Falsehood and inconsistency has already gained traction;
He has to cede that repetition leads to familiarity and familiarity leads to acceptance and Corporate Media has perfected this art for decades;
- Media plays the role of convincing people in an ideology nobody really believes exists—Equality, Freedom, Justice etc.—but most suspect that everybody else does;
- It’s rapid, continuous and repetitive, and lacks commitment to consistency. Above all, it’s very responsive to events;
- He has to cede that such propaganda has incredibly large volumes and is broadcast or distributed through hundreds of channels. Its text, audio, video, imagery is spread through internet, social media and traditional print and digital media.
- There are paid internet trolls, online chat rooms, discussions forums and comments section in portals. Thousands of fake accounts are at work on Twitter or Facebook who work 24 hours a day and each has a quota.
- The psychology literature tells us that more the surround sound around a propaganda, that is multiple channels playing it endlessly, and multiple celebrities and brands endorsing it, more is lent an unstoppable momentum.
When many endorse it leads to trust and reliance. Multiple sources make masses, lazy and indifferent, to trust the misinformation.
It’s a fact that Quantity indeed has a Quality of its own.
How does Modi tame the Beast?
So far Modi has believed that his work alone speak for him and his party. I am afraid it’s too simplistic against such a nuanced monster. It might not affect an RSS to engage in perception battle. But it would cripple BJP and this nation if this battle is not fought on the turf of enemies. And that means:
* Create your own NGOs;
* Don’t discourage the suffering majority—inconvenienced by the roadblocks, denied citizenship or justice—from coming to streets or occupying public spaces, as it were;
* Don’t believe in refutations; be first to respond to events; second-guess the misinformation about to happen and educate the masses beforehand; speed is of essence;
* Build your own information machinery; get masses, professionals, amateur journalists, media outlets involved in the evolving landscape of social media and internet; leave no stone unturned (If you have time, look for how Hungary does it against his and our nemesis George Soros). In short, overwhelm the audience.
This battle won’t be won by Modi’s shastra of constitutionality and morality.
It won’t help his reform agenda; save innocent lives in Bengal or provide citizenship to Hindu refugees; or weed out the ISI and Khalistanis who are bent upon balkanizing India.
It would keep on hold the laws he has in mind for farmers; the land and labour reforms; for his enemies wear the raincoat of deception, such as, say, environment.
(this article was first published in News Bred.)