Data world: A New Revolution

Data has changed the direction of politics
Representational Image
Representational ImageFlickr [Creative Commons]

It is 2023 midway. Since the advent of capitalism, the world has gone from hard modernity to soft modernity. The changes have been rapid and unprecedented since the demise of the Cold War. It is era of globalization.

A glance to our recent past, a history we have lived and witnessed has gone through the strides of power and domination to let us be reflective now. The three generations since 1950 has gone by and world since then has changed qualitatively so much that we are not where we had been in time and space.

The elites and leaders have to grasp the realities of their countries and around to survive in this global world. It is true that Faith is a must in this era of uncertainties and excessive individualized world, but it can sustain only, if you live in a time and space with moderations and self interpretations.

India’s software power and plurality has been its vitality, despite purchasing power is hugely unbalanced. Pakistan is in a mess for its dominant elite of Punjab did not allow democracy to strike roots. India centric hostility, it thought was its option to justify its prosperity.

Jinnah died too early to clear this illusion and birth of Bangladesh was too late to prove that the dynamics of abhorrence is only suicidal. The acceptances of difference and willful respect to the institutions have marked the rise of west and consolidation of its centrality.

The sustained journeying is in togetherness and plurality. Intergroup accommodation and institutional vitality and state's adherence to the constitution are assuring guarantees for peace, development and prosperity. 

India was lucky that the champions of The National Movement and early leadership that  lived enough after independence to allow plurality of our country to endure. Pakistan lost its direction just after 1953. Its civil leadership disappeared giving way to its army elite to have its sway.

This suited the western world, especially the US and the UK to play power chess board game against the Communist Soviet Union during the Cold War Era. The US and the UK needed its unquestioned allegiance from the new born country. It opted for army supremacy, created Kashmir allegory, a rationale for Punjabi domination in power and resources.

Kashmir as theater of absurdity meets all the conditions. It assured Punjabi elite its dominant status among other regions of Pakistan. Punjab is not bordered with China, so China too hard amusing eye on its command position. Since 1950, Pakistan as active ally of western block harvested its dividends to be on linear path until mid sixties of the previous century.

India was struggling with its nation-state building agenda. China chose the moment. It  emerged from its slumber in 1960s. It started its game plan and Pakistan military power with civilian Punjabi dominance suited to its interests, as it did to Americans. 

In return, Pakistan openly favoured west and covertly got closed with China. In any case, it caused curse on Kashmiris. Americans knew it. They had their data base centres. In response to it, they secretly filled the alternate non dominant space with religious radicalism to safeguard their long term interests. Aroused anti USSR and anti India notions, it fed institutions with percepts of political religion.

The closed boundaries during the cold war would live on one sided information of state radios and newspapers. It's now we understand how great powers manipulated information that caused India to suffer and Pakistan to divide.

Now data sets inform us that it would need at least five generational time space in peace to understand that religion is different than political economy and power algebra. We have in Kashmir second generation leadership on its retreating stage.

Kashmir would need time to understand when its educated middle class would get expanded with its subaltern rungs of society, estimated by data analysis as it should be fifth generation.

Kashmir has to wait for another forty years to overcome its mystified mindset that is based on  imagined religious nationalism. Kashmir has a future in plural India; its leadership would understand it when demystification process is complete. Pakistan is struggling for its plurality and Imran Khan is a metaphor for its contradiction.

It is no wonder if Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits think, alike. Majority-ism in Kashmir is religious -mystified, so is minority-ism of Kashmir bewildered in opposite to it.

The only difference is that the fourth generation educated strata in both the communities know what it is. They are out from it and think in terms of good of their children, peace and prosperity that is in pluralism with that nativity which is accommodative in plurality. However, their number is too small to make any difference to current subjectivity in both the communities. Let us accept it. 

Since 2013, lid was opened by Edward Snowden, who went to exile after working for sensitive data operations in USA. It has opened the window to know the implication of data revolution.

It threw light on how a small stringy device capsule could hold information of thousands of pages and manipulations recurring about the alteration  and changes in power matrices.

China has already taken lead in it. Its operative workers all over the world have been working in multinational  companies of the developed countries over the years. Since 1970s, it started this mission, first gradually and then rapidly to have its mark on the digital world. This is a broader historical revolution after modernity. If hard modernity was created by centrality of Europe, the soft modernity has been mastered by China.

It involves all types of technologies to formulate policies and procedures through analytical and algorithmic expertise. Social sciences would explain it in easy way how language, technology, labor and its interplay form bio-power and body power matrix, one disciplining and conditioning, the other regulatory and modifying.

The rise of digital power has manipulated digital economy to undermine the other variables of modernity. Data generation has become new basis for geopolitical rivalry.

The recent researches have shown that China’s stability despite weakening economic growth mostly lies that digital economy has come in big way for Chinese welfare policies.

The earlier notion that trading military power and its centric fulcrum no longer works, it is  creating data sets and its privacy, control  and interpretations  construct new power. The uncertainties caused by data being like a weapon, transferable without leaving any mark behind are like arrival of humans and their exit without much prior knowledge.

It has churned the global world through its soft power. In recent years, ‘the European Union recently fined Google and Amazon $163 million for violating its privacy law, reflecting a concern about data’s negative externality.

The Russian meddling in social media in the 2016 US election indicates that personal data can be weaponized to influence foreign states. Data has changed the direction of politics. It is where the dominant elite in Pakistan are unable to come out from the mystified boundary discourse of nation states.

The close boundaries prior to the demise of the cold war could enforce the mindset subjectivity of using religion with politics. It has changed, now it is economics with politics that would sustain another hundred years, until educated class moves up in the world in all over the corners to understand that notions of security should be as plural as plurality is visible in the real world.

The binary of mind and body is as a misnomer as morality and materiality can sustain with rupture. The grammar of morality is not with divided materiality. If morality is not in plurality, it would distance religion from human politics.

China’s proximities despite religious contradictions have no problems with dominant elite of Pakistan. Some of the talk shows, intellectual anchors in Pakistan mix easily religious quotes and religious instances with the current, then justify Chinese foreign policy preference to US closeness, because it is anti India centric.

There is no redemption to the people of region, other than to live in peace with boundaries as it is, demarcations not for war and animosity but grounds for peace and prosperity.

G20, should be taken as an opportunity for opening out to the resources and exchange, rather than observing it stubble as China more than Pakistan would perceive it.

China’s chess plan is like a whirlwind cloud, based on its data to keep dominant elite in its notionally subjugated countries into live in primordial. Despite, Pakistan is facing its deepest existential problem after 1971, its dominant elite wants to secure its position in power and resources.

Experimentation with history on hate and animosity is digging pits around, where history repeats only in bloodshed and disaster. We have to come out from this illusionary nostalgia for our children and for our future generations.

Ashok Kaul, Emeritus Professor in Sociology at Banaras Hindu University

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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