Sunday, August 23, 2009

L'il Jassy wrote a BAD book...

Jaswant Singh, a senior political leader in BJP has recently been expelled from the party for writing a book,

This incident sends out some really scary signals. It is one of the most direct contradiction of the freedom of expression, the cornerstone of democracy. It is a well known fact that only the victor writes the history of war. It is thus easy to just take one point of view and stick with it. But the really mature society would be one in which people can calmly go through all evidence and make their own opinions about any incident. But more important, in my opinion, is to have the freedom to agree to disagree maturely and peacefully. Every person brings a different perspective to the same set of evidence and hence sees things in a different way. It is thus impossible to expect people to come to the same conclusion - but if people can hold on to their opinions and conclusions without fear of retribution or without trying to force them upon others, only then can the society be considered to be truly democratically mature.

Of course I'm aware that this is too idealistic a view. Hot heads will always exist. People who scream without understanding will always exist. People with my way or the highway will also always exist.

But removing a senior leader from the party gives out very strong anti-dissent messages. Or more tragically, more anti-independent thinking messages. You should not have any other interests, opinions, thoughts, arguments apart from the one that is the 'party diktat'

It reminds me of the dystopian society that George Orwell wrote in his book 1984 which I'm re-reading currently. It essentially talks about a totalitarian society where dissent is permanently obliterated through the means of fear and suspicion. But very critically the dictatorial regime also focused on 'Thoughtcrime' and one of the ways of removing that was putting together a new language, Newspeak, which would, in it's ultimate form prevent dissent as the language would be such that people would not be able to understand there own dissent as there just wouldn't be words to describe them. Newspeak would narrow the range of thoughts possible where describing concepts like freedom, independent thought, opinions would just not be possible. As a character in the book says: " The revolution will be complete when the language is perfect"

The current expulsion reeks of dark times in the party. If independent thought needs to be curbed then there is definitely something wrong and some serious thinking needs to be done.

1 comment:

तुषार वर्मा said...

o u reading 1984. tell me how u liked it. i found it very disturbing.