The Dying Conscience Of A Nation

There lays a society built upon the perceived scruples crafted meticulously through ages. Slowly but, surely these ‘esteemed’ values mutate into obnoxiously obstinate practices which can at times undermine the very existence of a civilization. Through ages we’ve had numerous instances where nations crumbled under their own weight unable to anchor antediluvian ideas which could barely appeal to the apathetic masses. The vicious cycle that ensues disillusions the people this in turn acts as the final blow for an already crippled society. Thus, the fissures apparently concealed since ages are cleanly cleaved.

When rationality turns subservient & dogmatic beliefs hold precedence, when voices of dissent are stifled & the state is driven by malice towards its own people then, this surely is the most poignant phase for a society.

Ours is a land of ideas as varied as the Sun & the Moon. With a culture that has continually tuned itself with changing time, the Indian civilization continues to thrive & burgeon still today. Once a refuge for free- thinkers, rationalists & other persecuted demotic groups things may be changing too swiftly. How do civilizations decay? That might sound too big a question to suitably answer at one place. However, human obsession with the past has in fact produced numerous detailed accounts of nations & empires gathering strength, rising to its pinnacle & then, limping into obscurity. Bound together through a shared culture, a nation is born. Driven by aspirations of people, a nation flourishes & thrives. In highly sophisticated societies this has a trickle- down effect on even those who happen to be at the nether end of social strata. Thus, is established a state of cornucopia, where there is no paucity of resources & social mobility. The aspirational class propels the wagon of prosperity as well as success. But, as is often said, chaos is the norm of nature, even the most intricate of things must succumb before the fury of chaos & humanity is just too fragile to withstand. The aspirational class accustomed to a glut of opportunities just can’t stand a drastic change, disgruntled & frustrated they conspicuously target the state & its policies which until now was their ultimate benefactor.Having sensed its waning hold over its people many a times the state responds too harshly. This heavy handedness has a domino effect unleashing the Pandora ’s box upon a society. The poor against the rich, the workers against their masters, & people up in arms against their brethren, when bloodletting becomes too common a sight to provoke condemnation you ought to admit that the gory game of power has begun. Finally, all of this eats into the society which went on to harbor it in the first place.

How do all of these hold a semblance in our society? Whenever there is a change at the helm of power, ideologies long shunned begin to compete to gain credence. Surely, it wrongs none when ideologies of varied hues actively moot. In fact it is the single most potent aspect of a thriving democracy where all can be heard without being labeled partisans. In a mature democracy such a tolerance isn’t a utopian sight. It also ensures that the state never wields too much power & its policies are always within the ambit of scrutiny. But, in a nation like India where the idea of democracy & secularism has long being subverted for political machinations such ‘active’ competitions easily turn nefarious. Invoking religious sentiments, digressing history to ‘us’ versus ‘them’ & blurring ‘morality’ & ‘coercion’ becomes a banal amusement. Discordant voices, unending barrage of allegations & blame- game between proponents of various ideologies is the coda of every ‘civilised’ discussion.

When the revered ‘intelligentsia’ of a society can’t engage in a dignified discussion without antagonizing their opponents, How come the masses already fraught with bias & parochial percepts be expected to hold burnished views? It is incumbent upon us a society to rise above partisan politics, ponder over the increasingly vitriolic environ & establish a healthy precedence for a participatory democracy.

Finally, dare you call me a ‘libtard’! (pun intended).

(This post also appeared on Countercurrents.org)

© Haris Ahmed

 

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