Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone - Issue #75: Democracy and Abstractions

Proximity engages our humanity. Distance engages us with aggregates.

There is a fear of unknown in the aggregates and abstractions but as soon as we come closer and to specifics we become more human, more engaging.

Riots and massacres, you see, are always caused by mobs against a group of people.

Never individuals.

If a suicide bomber were to ever engage with every one of his victims as humans, he/she would have a different career.

Abstractions and Aggregates inherently create distance. And distances brings out the worst in us. That is why, terrorism recruiters always speak of communities and symbols, never of people.

This is what has destroyed many societies and has been used to game democratic set ups in the world. The US Democrats have characterized Republicans en-masse. Opponents of Modi, derogatively call those who support him “bhakts”.

Idea is to dehumanize your opponent. Make him worthy of abuse.

What you would not do as a normal human being, you can when you are convinced that the other is not a human being any longer.

That dehumanization is the work of abstractions that political strategists create.

As social media campaigns and sophisticated propagandas take over our societies, dehumanization is increasing at a rapid pace. And central to the big data analytics and the computations involving information from, say Facebook, is to see individuals as faceless characteristics along with the motivations of those characteristics. No wonder as physical distances increase, social media relationships become closer. We become more paranoid.

The humanity is now suffering abstractions and distance.

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”― George Orwell, 1984

is democracy dead?

Democracy is a participatory sport. It can work if every individual is playing a part in it. When people go beyond the current sources of information and look for the facts. Use their wisdom and humanity to fashion a society that their children can be comfortable in.

This one small speech in “Fair Game” by Sean Penn, underscores the essence of democracy for me.

Fair Game - Sean Penn - Speech

In India, for example, everyone knows about the “Junaid Lynching Case” (and the subsequent ‘Not in my name’ campaign). But how many know that it had nothing to do with beef or religion at all! It was a fight over seats in a train. That was the conclusion of the High Court judgment!

Why do we know one piece of propaganda lie, and not the piece of information that negates it and brings out the truth?

In that lies the essence of democracy. So we ask the question - Is Democracy Dead?

Is democracy dead? - Drishtikone

Is democracy dead? - Drishtikone

Is Democracy dead? It is an important question, given how the very voice of the electorate is being compromised by lobbies, parties and enemies.

This question is central to our existence as a society in the future.

baring pakistan's propaganda twitter troll

Farhan Virk is a Pakistani troll. He is a hyper-nationalist, a state-sponsored troll. This guy leads Team Imran Khan, which is a Twitter army of more than 1,000 volunteers!

His wife, who also leads a giant cyber-army, is creating plans to infiltrate mainstream news across India.


Farhan Virk’s name became synonymous with trolling and fake identities peddling nationalist propaganda on Pakistan’s social media scene. A recent documentary casts new light on the banned Twitter celebrity and Pakistan’s changing Twittersphere.

As the world changes around them and bills mount, the troll couple is trying to reinvent themselves. Virk started off with a fake account of Pakistani nuclear kleptopath - AQ Khan, who stole nuclear secrets from NATO in the 1970s. As he got notoriety, he nailed the trolling and trending game. Here is an Al-Jazeera documentary on the Virk couple.

War, Lies and Hashtags: Pakistan's Twitter Battles | Witness

nota bene

Persecuted Afghan Sikhs: The first batch of 11 members of the minuscule Sikh community from Afghanistan, who have been facing persecution at the hands of Pakistan-backed Taliban, landed in New Delhi on Sunday in a special flight facilitated by the Government of India. The group has been granted short-term visas by the Indian embassy in Kabul. Among other repatriates includes 60-year-old Delhi-based Sikh Nidan Singh Sachdeva and 16-year-old Sunmeet Kaur, who were kidnapped by terrorists there and was later rescued by security agencies. (Source)

Time Capsule in Ayodhya: A time capsule will be placed about 2000 feet down underground at the Ram Temple construction site in Ayodhya, the Ram Janmabhoomi temple trust said on Sunday. According to Kameshwar Chaupal, a member of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, the capsule will help anyone in the future who wishes to study the history of the temple. (Source)

Europe COVID back: EUROPE is on alert as coronavirus cases are surging sparking fears of a potential second wave. France has warned the progress in the fight against coronavirus has been “erased”, and meanwhile Britain closed its air bridge to Spain due to a spike in cases. (Source)

Rioting and violence explodes in the US: There has been an explosion of rioting and lawlessness in more than half a dozen U.S. cities. On Saturday night the violence and rioting caused damage to federal buildings, local police precincts, and even a fatal shooting in Austin, Texas. (Source)

Rich seek safe haven: The rich in the world are buying their ways to “safe havens” like New Zealand and the Carribeans in the COVID-19 times. (Source)

10 deadly gangs of bollywood

The gangs and mafia in Bollywood has been known to all. At least in gossips, if not in reality. A lot of facts have been kept hidden by the bollywood media and the PR and a false picture is painted outside.

When Sushant Singh Rajput died, his death opened up a can of worms.

Safa-e-hasti kar raha hun, ek badi umeed par;

Be-nishaan ho lun, to kuchh naam-o-nishaan paida karun.

After that Kangana Ranaut’s interview further exposed the mess that is prevalent in Bollywood.

This episode of VRA TV by Vivek Agnihotri is in that category. It brings out the details of the gangs that most of us probably have not even imagined or thought of. He shares their characteristics and what they do. A must watch!!

VRA TV | 10 Deadly Gangs of Bollywood

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