Democracy in the Theatre of the Absurd—and the Futility of Election

The universe is an illusion
Image from the Anonymous ART of Revolution
An impression, quite a tragicomedy, from looking at the establishment and the absurdity of its disguise to coerce in the name of people’s will and observing the condition of the stakeholders

The Indian general election, by its sheer number, is considered the largest of its kind in the world. From its face value, we can see the numbers are more important than anything else. Dig for numbers, spew venom for numbers, kill for numbers, loot for numbers. Do everything. For the numbers. Subsequently, when we go to a particular region, like Manipur—where might is right—the whole exercise is burdened with nothingness, leave alone the futility of quantity.

It is unsurprising to find the rationale behind the ever-increasing cacophony in recent time. The noise is going to be worse till April and May: the election is scheduled to be held around these months. People, they believe in changes, quite ironically because after all, the ministers are going to be responsible for the entire nation.

We are more concerned, on one hand, with the whole establishment and its political system rather than its parts. On the other hand, the reflection on this circus, this election, can be assigned to the politically conscious citizens. The election is a testimony to the fact that we desperately need leaders—no matter they are murderers, rapists or robbers.

The inception

The resilience of the Manipuris is remarkable. When a gang lobs grenades in any government official’s residences—and which is quite an order of the day—the best thing the people of the official’s neighbourhood would do is to stage a sit-in-protest, wearing mourning dresses, and putting up placards that reads like, ‘Fast unto death until the bomb stops’, ‘No gunfight in public areas’, ‘Respect humanity’ and what not. The only unclear thing is that it is never sure to whom are the grievances airing.

In the same breath, there is a caveat in our flexibility. We have mixed everything together: there is no difference between what is acceptable and what is despicable and what is outrageous in our collective life. For the sake of resilience, we can tolerate the ministers’ fornication in the public, the gunmen swinging their private parts in the kiethel, the armies smuggling drugs and us, turning into zombies. Anything, to put it in one word. The elections are just an excuse for our indifference. 

For starters, the stakeholders are aware of the prevailing conditions in Manipur. The people, the government, the army, the militants—all of us are speaking up, albeit when might is right, only the more powerful has the upper hand. Power, it is apparently abused all the time, all the place in this pathetic corner of the world. And there is a thin line between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’, as is evident from state terrorism, the activities of the outlawed organisations, the paramilitary force’s high-handedness, and so on. We cannot deny how we are nose diving into the worst form of living. Knowing the conditions seem to accentuate the cynicism, rather than getting more light to shed on the issues. But this is not the end of the story. 

The right choice
Image by Jamie

The motion

First thing first.

India started recognising the people of this region, only after the Chinese retaliation in the ’62 war. The root cause of the war was the shortsightedness of the Indian government in those days. Today, little has changed, except for a couple of alterations here and there.

One, now the Union has been successful in placing a state (provincial) government, which depends entirely on the charity of central government. How can the slaves dare their masters? That’s been the question, rather than defying the insanity of those people in power. Two, the union has been able to appreciate the strategic importance of the region, albeit reluctantly and because of the growing influence of the Chinese in the last few decades.

China humiliated India in the 1962 war

If compulsion can bring about a positive change, there is no harm in making an effort; yet, how we live and how we are made to live produce an entirely different scenario. The futility of electing representatives, plus their never-ending crime and debauchery make the situation as worse as it can be.

An Australian journalist, Neville Maxwell, who covered the ’62 war, predicted about the looming militarisation in the region. Incidentally, the country was humiliated, while Nehru called back his dogs and soldiers to the Indian mainland. It was not an issue to leave the entire Northeast on its own devices, when the Chinese escalated the aggression. Nehru cried a river on the All India Radio in the name of motherland and for the pity on Assam, but that’s another story.

Back again, in India’s China War, first published in 1970, Maxwell noted, “In India, as present trends continue, within the ever-closing vice of food and population, maintenance of an ordered structure of society is going to slip out of reach of an ordered structure of civil government and the army will be the only alternative source of authority and order. That it will be drawn into a civil role seems inevitable, the only doubt is how?” For more details on the war, read the Henderson Brooks Report (Full text of the Volume I of the top-secret internal review report of the Indian army to look into the debacle of the 1962 war with China, as made public by Australian journalist Neville Maxwell. Source: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?289845)

In the context of militarisation, it is just absurd to see how democracy works. Here’s a brief: We have regular elections ever since Manipur was merged into the union of India. The festive spirits around election time are one of a kind. No one can deny, around such time, the feel-good factors; if nothing else, there is free booze and pocket money, for short-term benefits; and for long term, assurance of jobs and contract works make the system seemingly remarkable, regardless of the violence, the blatant corruption and misappropriation of funds meant for socio-economic welfare. Our masters are the kings, the rulers, the judges, the jesters—all in one. Their lineage will be proud of them, in case, their families are not murdered. That’s for sure, if in the future whether there are elections or not.
The naked truth
Image from the Anonymous ART of Revolution


On the other hand, we are hopelessly weak in anything related to economics. The bulk of funds—maybe the ‘alms’ is the more suitable term—come from New Delhi. And it is never ending. It is an open secret in our severely deprived economy.

The real master, dictating from the Raisina Hills and elsewhere, knows it well. Our local representatives are in cahoots with bureaucrats and contractors, revelling in threesome orgy all across the years. Now and then, the extortionists, in the guise of fighting for the land, would spoil the party. The result of their misunderstanding is what makes up our public life of the day. And then follow the bomb blasts and kidnapping, which is as all too obvious, quite a way of Manipuri living in this 21st century. This is an antithesis of Abraham Lincoln’s view that the ballot is more powerful than the bullet, and this is also another reason why democracy is a hokum.

The evolution

Can you imagine who usually ban this kind of people-oriented, talking-shop festival called general elections and all? No prize for getting the right answer, but certainly the correct answer is the nexus of experienced contractors-cum-gunmen again. They call the shots—this is no deniable, what we can discuss is on their degree of nuisance. On the paper, mostly these gangs issue diktat against pro-Indian stuffs.

Should I add one more sentence? A few years ago in one significant election, but which deserve not even naming, these gun-slinging saviours banned, not all but just one political party, for reasons best known to them.

It is this kind of mess that makes us so hopeless in spite of our yearning for peace, justice and development. Believers would say we are possessed. God has been dead for a long time—and this, we can see in the ever increasing number of outlawed organisations, which are inclined to Marxism and leftist ideologies, but are too impotent to verbalise the thoughts or accomplish the goals on the foundation they have raised themselves. Things can never be this bad. This is in consideration of the fact that guerrilla warfare has been going on ceaselessly. Rationality dictates that the duality of democracy and election directly contrasts the armed movements in the last five decades. For the sake of formality, we might kill each other as well.
1949 was all paperwork
Image from the Anonymous ART of Revolution

Recently, the picture has been completed with some ridiculous political activities, ahead of the 16th Lok Sabha election which is due next month. Last month it was Narendra Modi—this month, Rahul Gandhi visited the state to preach about the amount of shits they can provide in a single dump. Once in a five-year hiatus, they come and make promises and we are just happy, waving meaningless flags and listening to the lies like the most hopeless creature with the biggest ears in the universe. This is, in fact, the naked truth. And once the occasional drama is over, life is back to square one.

By the way, the other day, New Delhi had done what it likes the most. The North Block has sanctioned 40 companies of paramilitary forces for the state polls, scheduled on 9 April and 17 April 2014. You always need the military to accentuate the ideals of democracy. That’s what the country is for us. In the name of security, in the name of the country, it seems in days to come, we will even need to fuck our own family members or kill them, if need arises. Anyway, people in my country are my brothers and sisters.

The destruction

Under these circumstances it makes little sense to have an election. It is such a disgrace to democracy itself. It is no different from the extortionists mentioning, in their aims and objectives, Karl Marx’s ideas and left-inspired action plans. In a jiffy, they can transform themselves from being communists to criminals. And they do it shamelessly but then nobody can overlook our resilience.

Our collective life shows that we are good as long as there is some kind of restriction. Otherwise we simply cannot resist any form of temptation. The film industry is the perfect example in this part of the world. A little more than a decade ago, Hindi entertainment was one of the main attractions for the mass. The landscape changed only when Hindi films were banned and that heralded the new world of digital film industry. Then we came across the blot in the history, when a radical organisation burned down the main library of the town in its campaign to impose the learning of Meitei Mayek in schools and colleges. We are forceful and we need force. Election is just too mainstream.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
- Bob Marley
Image from the Anonymous ART of Revolution

We are also dependent on the whims and fancies of the moral police, zealots and fanatics. And it is our habit to carry out the chores, only when we are forced to do it. Otherwise, we do not mind spending, wasting our lives listlessly in a world as wretched as a diseased organ. Liberal ideas are over-rated, though some overly liberal people are inclined to believe it is not.

In a way, what we need is coercion, not election. This does not necessarily correspond to rampant abuse of power by both the state and non-state actors. What is the meaning of democracy and the significance of holding elections in these conditions? New Delhi should look into the affairs beyond the narrow prism of security issues. If not, it should stop pampering our ruling class. It cannot fool all the people all the time. It’s elementary, Mr Bharat Bhusan!

The aspiration


Theoretically, democracy is a suitable form of government—not per se, but because of the lack of an option in the new millennium. Something is apparently better than nothing. It triumphs over oligarchy, plutocracy and military junta, and other existing forms, in the contemporary world. Just like any other kind of idealism, the political system of a democracy is just too good, if we go by its merits and offerings. Sadly it is not so, as is evident from its manifestations because of just one reason: it is a human creation and to err is us.

Consider the case of Manipur. The Lok Sabha election is approaching. All along we know our contribution to the national politics is too meagre, not by choice but compulsion again. Still, these political activities provide some kind of false worthiness. The ritual visit of notable political party leaders, like Modi and Gandhi, in the state is one example. Charles de Gaulle, the legendary Frenchman, puts it succinctly, “In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.” The preparation of the national and local parties for the election is ridiculous, if not hideous.

The foundation has been so weak. The taskmasters have been denying our natural evolution. For instance, Manipur had its first tryst with democracy in 1948, more than three–four years before the general election of the present country. Oh, and you can argue that Nehru had his tryst with destiny a year before the Manipuri crap—yes, talk about destiny, not democracy.

For an idea, we have a constitution even before Ambedkar and others were burning the midnight oil to finalise the Indian constitution. The respected Indian nationalists, however, rejected the native’s history and destroyed it without any reason or rhyme; and now a prime ministerial candidate is preaching that China should do away with its expansionist mentality. The air reeks of cow dung and hypocrisy.      

Things are no different in state legislative elections (http://manipurassembly.nic.in). We have 60 members of legislative assembly (MLA). Everything is clear except the conscience of the natives. The incumbent ministers are ruling not because of their capability but the helplessness of the electorates. Perhaps, fortune favours the bold because they have to be shameless to indulge in daylight robbery and debauchery. Pity their bastards and children. In practical sense, they have to go along with the anonymous gunmen, who have been pivotal in spreading the gun culture. To cut it short, we got nothing to lose if we lose them. In fact, their disappearance might provide a chance for us to restart our collective life. With some sense of rationality. Some sense of dignity. And some sense of humanity. We can keep away democracy and election for a while.

Further reading

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Why Insurgency is Just Like a Tickle to the Government
http://kapilarambam.blogspot.in/2013/10/why-insurgency-is-just-like-tickle-to.html

Election Justification
http://kapilarambam.blogspot.in/2011/12/election-justification.html

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Fly like an American
Image from the Anonymous ART of Revolution

Why Democracy Is Wrong
http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/democracy.html
Democracy does not deserve the semi-sacred status accorded to it. In Europe, democratically elected politicians such as Jörg Haider, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Silvio Berlusconi, Umberto Bossi, Gianfranco Fini and Pim Fortuyn are a reminder of democracy’s defects: an anti-racist dictatorship is preferable to a racist democracy. Democracy is expanding globally, but not because of its moral superiority. Military intervention is now the standard origin of democratic political systems. Any universal ideology will tend to crusades and messianic conquest, and democracies feel entitled to ‘bring freedom’ to other countries. Below, more on the ethical problems, definitions of democracy, the issue of inequality, the defects of democratic culture, the nation as the ‘demos’, the claimed justifications for democracy, and alternatives to democracy.

Democracy’s Most Critical Defect
http://blog.independent.org/2009/10/27/democracys-most-critical-defect/
Nowadays, democracy’s defects are more likely to be seen as relatively benign ― its devotees like to quote Winston Churchill’s quip that “Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” ― or as defects not of democracy itself, but of the party shenanigans and other frictions that keep the democratic system from operating more fully. Thus, people complain of ‘gridlock’ and bemoan a ‘do-nothing’ Congress because these things impede the unrestricted functioning of democracy.

Plato: The Failure of Democracy

http://faculty.frostburg.edu/phil/forum/PlatoRep.htm
The challenge that Plato’s critique of democracy still poses is the question whether the citizens of today’s democracies are interested and informed enough to participate meaningfully in the democratic process. Are today’s self-proclaimed democracies in fact societies where people are ‘their own governors’ — where they are well enough informed to be effectively in control of their commonwealth and their lives? Do the citizens of these societies really understand why wars are declared, resources committed, debts incurred, relations denied, and so forth? Could it be that a majority of citizens live in a cognitive haze that reduces them to voting on the basis of uninformed convictions, catchy slogans, and altogether vague hunches and feelings?

An Anarchist Critique of Democracy

http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/moxie-marlinspike-and-windy-hart-audio-anarchy-radio-an-anarchist-critique-of-democracy
The legitimacy of a democracy begins with the adoption of a constitution, which establishes the fundamental rules, principles, duties, and powers of the government and some set of rights for individuals against those of the government. The enumeration of rights attempts to protect individuals from the whims of a democratic majority, a concept developed as republicanism during the overthrow of monarchism.

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The power of Indian democracy: Politics is the last refuge of a scoundrel and a criminal.

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