Even in the 21st century, we choose blissful ignorance over identifying ways in which the government fleeced our ancestors, and still continues to do so. We ignore the recurring signs that tell us that we’re all still stuck with the herd mentality. Because we presuppose that government works for our welfare, forgetting that it is but a group of INDIVIDUALS.
A common saying goes, “four types of people loot the people and exploit the society- the rich, the powerful, the intelligent and the priests.”
A few decades earlier, that would’ve sounded like something off a sketchy conspiracy theory site, something totally delusional like a clickbait link. However, we have to keep in mind the concept of conspiracy theory as it was understood first in the 1960s- a far out theory that seems like a product of irrational thinking. First mentioned in connection with the Kennedy assassination, there wasn’t much research done to prove that the conspiracy theorists were right, and the theories did not gain popular currency, until recent times.
Over half a century after USA’s project Sunshine was confered in the wake of Hiroshima, the United States Government confirmed a theory that was branded outlandish at that time. In order to test the effect of Strontium 90 in human bone tissue, the US Department of energy and the UK Atomic Energy Authority used stillborn infants shipped from as far as Australia. Its highly likely that the parents of the newly deceased infants weren’t even informed about the project before the bodies were used as samples, and all of this wasn’t declassified until the Clinton administration.
Now this raises questions about the authenticity of various other ‘conspiracy theories’ that states how the government and high profile people control the minds, ideologies and lives of other people. This would also explain why they go to extreme lengths to discredit these theories and prove that they are not true in the first place, even when strong evidence(s) support the claims against them.
It goes without saying that the dominant class in any society uses the working class as an instrument to protect their vested interests. In the views of Hungarian Marxist George Lukacs, “the bourgeois ideology seeks to dominate, influence and contaminate the psychological consciousness of the proletariat”. The same goes for people of the nation. In these times of sycophancy, bigotry and communal polarization, we as Indians are kept distracted by the use of faith to turn us against each other. A citizen who’s well aware of his/her socioeconomic, financial and political rights is one of the worst nightmares of the interest oriented elite. And so majority of youth, the nation of tomorrow, comes from an education system where rote learning and conformity to the norm is rewarded and any attempt to put forward an alternative point of view is stifled. The Indian education system as it exists is a legacy of the British, meant to create efficient office clerks that dispatch mind numbing repetitive tasks with ease and efficiency. We are not encouraged to think and critically analyse and no wonder Indians lag behind in research fields in spite of being academically brilliant and the ignorance has seeped so deep into the societal DNA.
Unarguably, there’s rising levels of intolerance in the country specifically where the rich, the powerful and the priests are looting the resources while the intelligent stay quiet in the face of polarization and dehumanization of the common man.
Liberty means responsibility, that is why most men dread it.
People that hold the ideals of humanity and the resoluteness of facts make up a very small minority; most of us have turned into background white noise, and have become the embodiment of the very thing wrong with free speech. We ignore the very signs of history repeating itself. There might come a day when we finally realise that the higher class controlling us wasnt a hollow conspiracy theory, but a reality. But it might be too late.
Now the question arises, what exactly do we do to not fall into the dismal abyss of ignorance. The answer is simple- speak up. Initiate conversations, rationalize, try to identify the writings on the wall. Identify the bigotry in your own family and social circle. Question what they’ve passed down to you through the ages and the patterns that you observe in them. Appreciate the diversity around you and educate yourself and others about rights. We are oversaturated with information that digresses us from the things we need to focus on. The ice caps are melting, but it’s the Kardashians that make it to the headlines. To not be a cog in this global suicide machine, we need to think, think instead of trapping ourselves and letting our lives be a mere simulation. We don’t want that conspiracy theory to turn out true, do we?
Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia