Competition Entry #24 | Freedom to Dream: India at 70


ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Blogging Competition Shortlisted Entry


Amidst the Worldwide Distortion of Dreams
Rahul Rema Mukundan, 24 years old, Gujarat


The signal to noise ratio is highly in the favor of noise today. Everybody is an expert, everybody likes to believe that they are the best of the experts. The world is going through the pubescent phase of its Information age.

The internet is almost omnipresent now. What was previously available to us as a painstaking dial up connection has today turned into a goliath, and the platforms it has brought about have become a dependency. Unhealthy or healthy, only time will tell. These are interesting times. Times of data, facts and figures. The age of information.

The advent of the Internet was seen as something that would serve as the ultimate empowering tool for us as a race, an opportunity to cut through and across all of those wide gaps that exist throughout societies.

In a Utopian universe we would have had an adivasi young boy or a girl sitting in their small houses, taking courses from Oxford, Yale, IIT, financial and geographical restraints irrelevant. Sadly, what we have instead is an excess of access for people in the cities, everybody hooked on all sorts of internet platforms, trying to establish themselves, ‘surviving and evolving’ in the digital world, far away from any sort of ground realities that exist outside of their bubbles.

We are a generation that takes itself way too seriously. Endless time for tweets and status updates, yet no time to work on the self other than at the gym. And we are fed with one chaotic situation after the other, forced to be not at peace.

History has set the precedent that those who don’t belong to any side but are the greatest in number – the common man – are most discriminated against. This same sentiment has been used to turn the world against itself. Dissent has been turned into a tool called ‘nationalism’ worldwide. Do not blame the common man, he’s holding on to what seems like the last resort to him.

The government and the media are two of the fundamental pillars in the framework of modern democracy, or perhaps democrazy, when you consider the general mood worldwide over the past 50 years. Both are supposed to help each other make the other better. However, what is happening in reality, is that each are helping to make the other worse.

We have the lawmakers seemingly trying to outrun each other to see who can be more juvenile, and the reporters conjuring up stories, theories, possibilities, probabilities, with out of context statements and very ill-intended misinterpretations to pollute and confuse the common man.

Add in to that capitalism, which helps no one buy truth, and speaks to people only via products, programs and schemes, and we have an information age on steroids. And we all know how steroids work.

To some extent, the media is more responsible than the government. If you think about it, people aren’t actually listening to leaders and public figures, people are listening to the media and forming their opinions about the leaders and public figures through them. Instead of channelling debates, facts and most importantly, the truth, the media is creating chaos.

Everyday there’s a breaking news. Correction. Everyday there has to be breaking news. It’s what sells.

It’s on the radio, hoardings, on the internet, on the apps that people download, on television, in newspapers and even on the new currency notes. Subconsciously tapping into corners of our minds and tricking us into becoming addicts, all the while serving us venom. Using irrelevant matters to work us up, turning us away from the original issues.

No, lets not talk about how rainforests in Indonesia are being affected by the world’s greed for palm oil, or how companies are forcing us to buy products that do our environment harm. Instead, let’s play an out of context loop of what a leader said, or get our cricketers to endorse a product, or have daylong coverage of a celebrity wedding.

If people are never left at peace, they will never evolve to become better versions of themselves, and so neither will societies as a whole. Until then, we will remain controlled, told we aren’t good enough, and why we should listen to the system.  Greek Gods needed the people’s prayers for their strength, and so do politicians. People remaining ordinary and in survival mode works in their favor.

This is the devil that we need to tackle at this hour. Otherwise they’ll take from us our very ability, let alone our right, to think and perceive independently. And when the earth’s population has outgrown itself, and the resources are almost extinct, it is the common man who will be asked to give up his life ‘for the greater good’, and he will readily do it.

India at 70 needs to do some serious thinking.

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