To unite a diverse mass, one must create an external enemy, so that by considering such an enemy as a severe threat to their interests, those diverse people can be united. After that, it becomes very easy for a ruler to keep control of them and divert all their attention from any local or basic problem, by pointing fingers at the 'enemy'. This is a classic strategy; you can find this arrangement everywhere in the world. For example, to unite Hindus, Muslims are the enemy, for India, Pakistan is the enemy, for development of the country, reservation is an enemy and for 'global peace' (that revolves around oil), a certain group of people and countries are the enemy. Even though these are external 'enemies' that have nothing to do with the real problems of the people, such a thought is nevertheless propagated and used according to the requirement of the rulers.
'If you have the media in hand, you can create any great hero or villain'. The Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and Media are said to be the four pillars necessary for any 'democratic country'. Out of all these, media has a very crucial role to play since it can instantly impact a huge number of people. It is evident that anyone can be made into a hero or a villain, based on the interests of media establishments and their allied rulers; whether it is M.K. Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru or others. Media can incite communal violence or rioting, can build a movement in thin air, can suppress the voices of very large groups, suppress movements that pose a danger to hegemony and supremacy, create a war-like situation and run a war room in the studio, create a hostile environment against any person, group or country, mobilize the masses over non-existent events, and fool the people with artificial debates.
'Whenever there is a big story in the media, look for the story they are trying to distract you from.' Currently, patriotism is on high tide - everyone is supposed to be a 'nationalist' and whoever speaks against any of the propaganda automatically becomes an 'anti-national' and Pakistani supporter. All this chaos being felt in the country is primarily the work of the propaganda machine (media). The Defence Minister says that the "military is losing respect because there is no war", and soon after that statement, an attack happens on a military camp and some soldiers are killed, making national news. During the same time, 8 Adivasis in Badkagaon village of Jharkhand, who were on a satyagraha against the acquisition of their land for mining, were killed by the state machinery. Their life did not matter at all, because they were all Adivasis, who had become an obstacle for the exploitation of natural resources (so that the oppressors can have 24x7 electricity).
Now a chain of 'exchange-of-fire' has begun with Pakistani forces and 'infiltrators' from Pakistan, and everyone in the country has supposedly benefited from this. All those who are concerned about the issue are cheering the killing of people and expressing their patriotism.
The Government is a failure on every front except when it comes to propagating the Hindutva agenda, benefiting big corporate houses, killing people in the name of culture, and the promotion of Gau Mata and patriotism. Now it also claims that it carried out a surgical strike. Except India, no one else is able to verify it – neither the UN nor Pakistan - and even the UN watch group denied that it happened. Yet, it is projected as if Modi and his ministers alone won a world war, and unprecedented publicity is given for such a 'secret mission', to show that only the PM and his government are doing the work. It is as if we taught a lesson to Pakistan and claimed 30-40 heads in revenge for the 18 heads of our soldiers. In this patriotic fashion, a high concern for national security is expressed.
Indian and Pakistani politicians have always used the 'other' as an external enemy, to cover their failure in addressing domestic issues or any major uprising against the rulers, whether it is Balochistan, Kashmir, Dalits demanding equality or any resistance against the oppression or corruption of rulers. In the current context, both governments are failing to maintain a law-and-order situation or rather, they don't intend to maintain it, for their own interest. As long as there is chaos in the country, there will be no serious threat to their dominance and supremacy. If peace begins to get established, people will start demanding for their rights and a share in power, and will start questioning the state regarding development, accountability, the utilization of the money, the people killed by the state machinery, etc.
The Propaganda machine takes up a story that it can repeat thousands of times, while questioning the patriotism of anyone who dares to dissent. Every other news that comes out during this period is suppressed. For weeks on end, dramatic debates are carried out on the issue. As part of these, Savarna 'intellectuals' get space to speak and write, and new heroes are manufactured as patriots and saviours of culture. Another beneficiary who greatly profits from this situation but always remains hidden, is the weapons supplier. Pakistan as well as India are importing most of their weapons. Both of them import from developed countries and expect them to also help in settling the issue of Kashmir since it is considered the root cause of hostility between the two countries. But if the issue of Kashmir is resolved, then why would the two countries buy weapons? It would mean a huge net loss to weapons suppliers. How else do we explain the huge bribe scandals involved in the purchase of these weapons?
As long as the issue of Kashmir remains, everyone will have their share. People will be killed whenever needed and declared as infiltration from the other side. The army will need more personnel and defence equipment. Ties with defence-equipment-selling-countries will be crucial for both the countries and those countries will have a say in policy-making. The media will continue to have news. The UN will keep observing the fight between India and Pakistan and waste time since they do not have anything to do. Other countries will continue making strategic ties.
Opposition- kyunki sas bhi kabhi bahu thi. The opposition can condemn, attack and criticize the policies or strategies of the rulers so that they will have something to show for their existence, as they never show their existence on issues of public interest. For example, they have come forward today to claim that they have also done surgical strikes, but never uttered a word back then. However, they are very vocal now. They go on TV and debate on infiltration and Pakistan's attempt to infiltrate the border. They demand accountability. May be there is an upcoming election somewhere!
Parties and leaders like MNS and Raj Thackeray now have something to catch on to. Without this issue, he would have gone extinct in the minds of the people. He can only spread hatred in people and think Mumbai is his jagir.
Who is winning? Who is losing? In the midst of this situation of chaos, the media is busy fighting the war. Mukesh Ambani, a very special friend of Mr. Prime Minister, gets a contract worth thousands of crores for defence equipment manufacturing, apart from the spending on the latest order of Rafael fighter jets. This industrialist friend enters defence manufacturing only after Mr. Modi becomes PM, buys a company in 2015 and gets a contract worth thousands of crores - good foresight! This is only one of many examples.
All those who are supposedly concerned about the 'country's interest' are benefiting through situations like this. Then who is losing? No one - people of this country are counted as no one, and no one cares about their interests. They are always on the losing side of any situation. None of the common people in either country want to fight a war, except those whose interest is hidden in wars. Common people want to do their work with ease. They want a good education for their children and their share in wealth, power, decision making and governance. They want their voices to be heard.
Here in this 'democracy' these people do not have a chance to speak out their feelings. What are they doing for the sake of the country? They are farming, working on the machines in the industries, as artisans, cleaning the sewage and shit produced by the 'owners' of the country, maintaining cleanliness in their offices, selling food and vegetables on the streets and working as peons in offices. The Adivasis are preoccupied with protesting against mining and deforestation, while many of their sons and daughters are getting killed at the border. These are all the things that 'in no way benefit the country'. So why should their voices be heard? Who asked them to join the defence services? After all, they get paid well and even if they get killed on the border, they get some money in return for that. Who asked them to do all such odd stuff?
Meanwhile, look at the owners who are supposedly benefiting the country. They sit in AC rooms and sign contracts of patriotism. They are turning the studio into a war room and teaching lessons to soldiers at the LOC. So if they do not listen and get killed, whose mistake is it? They conduct a strategy meeting with high security and then make sure that the footage is leaked, so that people can think that they are doing an excellent job. They travel around the world with businessmen on the expense of taxpayers, all for 'your sake'. They do all this so that they can earn more profits, kill poor people to preserve sacred culture and cows and also give talks in the AC halls of universities on these issues, making the world better with only talk and no action. This constitutes their patriotism. If you are also a patriot, then you must also agree with their position. However, you cannot independently voice out that same opinion – that's a different thing. Taking positions is their ancestral property and only they can be the true contractors of patriotism, not you.
To them, all the common people are only meant for elections. Beyond that, they don't bother about common people. In fact, they don't consider them as citizens of the country. It is with this outlook that they are able to kill any Dalit or Adivasi and no one bothers about it. When many people get killed in riots, it is only seen in the perspective of elections.
Now in the 'exchange of fire' drama, propaganda machinery will be busy with covering 'war'. Meanwhile, a lot of water will flow under the bridge – the wealth of Ambanis and Advanis will grow exponentially, and the debt of the country will also see manifold growth. All the people's movements happening today will be suppressed and all cases of corruption will be closed even before opening. Lots of people will get killed for skinning cows, filing cases against RSS workers, or failing to appease Amit Shah and frauds like him. Dalit boys will get killed for loving upper caste girls, many intellectuals like Rohith will get killed and Dalit intellectuals will be suppressed for raising their voice.
Till the chapter closes, there will be nothing recorded in history except war and its consequences, and in the larger perspective, nothing would have happened in the country during this time except 'exchange of fire' and high tide of patriotism. Communal parties will reap the fruits of all these efforts in the upcoming elections, and after that, some other episode will start before parliamentary elections. All the upholders of patriotism and saviours of the country will be in a win-win situation, and as always, Dalit-Bahujans will be on the losing side.
LOC, border, infiltrations or Pakistan are grounds for just a virtual war - actual war will be fought in the country between Dalit-Bahujans and the ruling class. There are more chances today that the ruling class will win this war, but not in the long term, because it is the time of social media and the dominance of traditional media is decreasing. This is good news for Dalit-Bahujans. A new battle has begun, and it is certain that the war will be won by Dalit-Bahujans. Both sides are ready and geared up. We will fight with whatever we have. Let's fight!
Vikas Bagde is a mechanical engineer. He has cleared the entrance exam of TISS and topped in it but has not joined it. He is preparing for GRE. Right now he is on a youth exchange program sponsored by the Norwegian government as a part of which he was in Norway for a few days and is now in Nepal.