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Waldo Moment In Indian Politics


BJP has emerged as the single largest party and their “Supreme” leader has emerged with a triumphant mandate. For the folks who are wondering what or who waldo is.  It is a augmented CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) Bear ROBOT, who features in Netflix’s Dark mirror Web series. Waldo enters a political race to gain publicity to his show, and in turn shakes the entire political landscape. His tools are abuse, bigotry, dark comedy and personal dirt fight. That was his trade for survival as a TV show mascot or puppet. But things change drastically when he (Waldo) is enlisted in the race for a by-election seat and his gimmicks lead to him astoundingly finishing runner up in the race. This was the ghastly warning for the audience about the repercussions of Waldo moment, which turned out to be a Prophecy in the current 2019 elections.

If we take a closer look at the events leading to the elections, the issues which were put forward as the ‘thrust areas’ were national security, in response to the Pulwama attack. The Balakot retaliation was treated as the vengeance strike which was only possible under the charismatic leadership and Vision (which can see beyond the cloud!). Essentially it was a national security routine and the chest thumping exercise, symptomatic of the hyper- nationalistic frenzy which it created, resonates the Waldo moment. It creates a false frenzy around some superficial issues, which takes precedence, and thanks to the twitter army, picks it up adding fire and the real issues are forgotten. The eating habit of PM, especially how he chooses to gulp down a mango or whether he keeps a wallet with him, takes precedence over hard-hitting issues like massive unemployment, farm distress, slowdown in the economy etc.

In contrast if we look at the Congress’s campaign as point in case, they promised NYAY scheme, they promised to look into the future of employment with cross roads at technology and many issues which are central to India moving forward. But people couldn’t connect with that narrative they were trying to float, instead they were caught up in the frenzy gimmicks of Chawkidar movement when the other MODI’S were shown a safe passage into serenity. What we have to realize at this important juncture is that truth, facts and fiction, if there ever existed a imaginary line which demarcated clearly, has been totally blurred. We can also find shades of George Orwell’s prophecy  in a way how hyper-nationalism is embedded through military glorification, hate being served as drinks showing a neighboring enemy, or our media acting as “Ministry of lies”. Technology combined with bigotry, narrow-mindedness and hate may spell a doomsday for democracy and social institutions. This bigotry in collaboration with technology is a serious threat to the very existence of humans. I don’t claim to know answers to this crisis or that my analogy is a nail on the head, this is a humble effort to analyze through this spectrum. What we need is more discussions on democracy, technology, electoral democracy, our social rapport and our contribution towards building a healthy society.