ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The ‘Feel True’ Politics of Demonetisation

The ‘Feel True’ Politics of Demonetisation

Will the obliteration of foul facts diminish the power of truth?

It is a truism that politicians practise fabrication of lies, underplay data and blatantly distort facts when it is expedient. Arguably, the threshold for defining the “expedient” is determined by their political urgency to camouflage the breach of promises made by them, especially when a “fate-determining” election is in the wake. Based on our experience with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the last few years, it will not be an oversimplification to straightforwardly link the government’s habitual and unapologetic lies about various economic and social policies to the flurry of promises that Narendra Modi had made to his electorate in 2014, but failed/cared less to fulfil after coming to power. However, there are defenders of these deceptions, too, who strive to legitimise such anomalies of the present government as “hyperbolic truth” (mind you, not “lies”) and a clarion call for changes to “cleanse” India (of the age-old economic delinquencies) which “only this” government could dare to think of. Despite being backed by rhetoricians’ defences, the BJP’s recent economic deceptions are far from tenable by robust economic logic, with the government’s self-proclaimed “ethical move” of demonetisation having to bear the major share of culpability.

More than mere denial/distortion of contrary evidences, the despotic and egoistic disdain with which the BJP government subverts such facts to legitimise its mendacity, should be a bigger concern. The recent incident where the union agricultural ministry had to backtrack an evaluation report carrying the (adverse) effects of demonetisation on the farm sector, supplant it by a new version with differing results, and show cause the concerned officials on charges of violation of protocol, exuded not only the brazenness of the government but also its recklessness, in a way saying “it’s a lie, but then who cares.” The moot question now, in fact, is, who should care? While the government is expected to care for its accountability obligations, the electorate and opposition cannot evade their responsibilities of holding the government accountable at least for its “explanatory” obligations (that is, answer for misgovernment). But, with the introduction of high-octane demagoguery based on prejudices, sentiments, and sensations caused by the “transpositioning of lies” on political opponents (abetted to a large extent by social media’s selection biases and immediacy of propagating aversive emotions), Indian democracy is encountering the shrinkage of spaces for dialogues, let alone discourses.

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Updated On : 11th Dec, 2018

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