1984 – Big System Paranoia

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength

Spoiler alert ahead! But if you are too concerned about possible giveaways to the book that is the least of the worries in today’s society.

Proles – Proletariat

Enough has been said and written about 1984 without another rabid exposition of the classic. What I however missed in most of the reviews was the role of the Proles. To me, the most scary and frustrating part is the impotent muscle in Winston’s society. It was without doubt the proles. They were the overwhelming mass, loosely governed and to a large extent able to lead an unrestricted life. But they lack vision and ideal and teeter like an opiated giant. The Party with its various tentacles of nested committees and sub-committees spying on each other are any power structure’s overhead, but they are sufficiently lenient with the Proles so as not to prod them from their reverie.

The relevance of the book to any political system, democratic or otherwise, is what makes it a classic. Orwell preys on  every citizen’s doubts about bureaucratic structures, human greed and governance.

Political Dogma and Ideology in the Indian Political System

The biggest democracy of India is as good a system to apply all these paranoia. There has been tremendous gains and moments of statesmanship genius littered all through the history of Indian politics. B R Ambedkar’s affirmative action, the early Non Aligned Movement and planning commissions. These are all edicts and edifices of lofty ideals. What could very well have been successful projects in smaller countries were doomed to failure from sheer scale and variety of the Indian nation.

All these do not however excuse the shell of democracy that exists currently.

There is a furious effort to “clean”and “rewrite” history, including constant politicized reimaginations of history. If there were Mughal and Turkish and British and Portuguese and French influence in shaping the culture and mores of various parts of India, they are all tweaked and erased from geography and history. The true horror in these actions is not the fact that they happen. It is the fact that nobody cares.

“Who controls the past controls the future; Who controls the present controls the past”

For any political junkie, be they left or right leaning, this book offers enough conspiracy theories, apathetic junta and thuggery to make them jump at any new move the government makes.

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