Yes, brother George, you were very right indeed. You were right when you warned us of the real world we are living in, and its potential to burst right there under our noses, in the "Animal Farm" and then in the alarmingly futuristic "Nineteen Eighty-four" which drew us into the world of the Big Brother, the omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent brute who claimed mastery even over power to think; words lost their meaning; love became hate, untruth the truth, double-speak and double-think passed for thoughtfulness.
Yes, as you said, ignorance is bliss. Or, that is what Big Brother would have us believe. And lo and behold, to show us how prescient you were, dear George, you have this day and this century a newly elected leader of the world's oldest democracy who from day one of his presidency of his country has told us that for every fact/truth there was an alternative fact or truth. In other he wants the fiction of his creation to be accepted as a fact. Just like he insists on there being little difference democracy and virtual democracy.
The Animal Farm we have learnt to see as George Orwell's finest work, is full of wit and fantasy, satire and a saddening commentary on the human condition and all that we humans must endure. In Nineteen Eighty-four Orwell did move many steps forward to portray the kind of society he believed we could evolve into if we allowed the State – the politicians masquerading as agents of change – to establish and perpetuate totalitarian rule by a systematic distortion of truth and a continuous rewriting of history, glorifying the dark and the ugly.
You don't really have to go far very far to see some of the Orwellian fears threatening to become a reality and which we are asked to learn to live with. Unfortunately for us, ordinary people, we must learn to live on edge , as it were, and never forget that politicians, who can indeed do a modest amount of good can simultaneously do immense harm to the human race.
Take the freshly elected American President Donald Trump as an instance. A ruthless entrepreneur, who made his billions, through means fair and foul, treating his newly acquired office as another board room, working hard to bring his skills as a practitioner of the art of the deal to his most powerful office and to his dealings with other nations. The man doesn't think much of scrapping international treaties negotiated by his peers in office or in asking neighboring Mexico to build a hundreds- of- miles long wall to stop Mexican immigrants from crossing over to the US. In the event Trump scrapped a trade treaty with Mexico (and Canada) upon the latter's refusal to pay for the construction of the Trump wall. And the American, quick on the draw as ever, shot back, imposing an unprecedented 20 percent duty on all Mexican exports to the US. Imagine, the US accounts for almost 80 percent of all Mexican exports. And Trump, the arrogant billionaire, believes the neighboring has country asked for it.
The idea running through Trump diplomacy is that relations between States follow the art of the deal. Thus when he chooses just before taking office to hail "our Sunni brethren" ,berating simultaneously the Shias of Iran , and then proceeds to offer total support to Israel,including the shifting of the US Embassy to Old Jerusalem in defiance of all previous commitments, Trump is only thinking of the deal.Remember he has appointed his Jewish son-in-law as his key Middle East adviser. And to press home his point Trump within three days of his take-over of the Presidency, bans Muslim immigration to the US from six Islamic States and orders more stringent immigration laws for Muslims as a rule. Why waste so much space on Trump and his trumpisms. Do remember politicians , more so the ambitious one like the Trumps or the Modis generally bear a tenuous relationship with truth.
I don't think I need to stretch my memory much to recall the times when India was Indira and Indira was India. Yes, you would probably be right to imagine that those of the saffronite hue and fully empowered at the moment want history to repeat itself; indeed they seem impatient to adopt their own version of the timeworn Indira mantra for it to read Modi is India and India is Modi. In Indira Emergency heyday it was a commonplace to see huge hoardings proclaiming "The leader is right, the future is bright" Having declared emergency Indira came down with an iron hand on people who she portrayed as criminals,blackmarketeers, hoarders and corrupt. There was no terrorism then but she did terrorise. In the process she betrayed her oath of office only to discover that Indira was not India . And, that no Prime Minister,however strong, can be India.
Sounds pessimistic but sadly the day does not seem to be far to be officially told that Mr. Modi is India's new Mr Infallible. Indeed, Modi and his hordes would very much want to him cast him in the Indira mould. Modi is India and all that. Already any criticism of Mr. Modi ,we are constantly reminded, is criticism of India,tantamount to treason. At this point I would rather draw from a very thoughtful piece on the Modi's India by Gopalkrishna Gandhi which appeared as an open letter to the PM in" The Hindu" newspaper on R-Day.
In the course of a sharp assessment of the Modi era, Mr. Gandhi,the Mahatma's grandson, bureaucrat and diplomatist, speaks of Modi in an open letter thus : "An impression prevails that you want to be seen as India, that criticism of you therefore tantamount to treason. Questioning demonetization becomes, in one flowing sequence, validating black money, going soft on terror and questioning your judgment – all anti-national. An immaculacy surrounds you, an assumption of infallibility imbues your pronouncements. And hence an aura of unquestionability."