Understanding Power: Communicating Resistance
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Electoral politics in India has become a signifier of democracy to the exclusion of all other values expected of a fair and just political system. In the political jostle for power, there is a disconnect between the “will of the people”, and the majoritarian outcomes arrived at through electoral math. Indian polity, since independence, was characterized by a rich tapestry of political contestation ranging from extreme right to extreme left, with the centre-left of Nehruvian ideology in power till the mid-1980s. Though contested deeply, the constitutional values of free speech and association formed the base for political contestation. Following the globalization project and the liberalization of the economy in 1990s, the political centre of gravity began to shift rightward, delegitimizing left of centre politics. The political spectrum that is on the ascendant is from far right to centre-right with the left and centre-left politics attacked as anti-national. The political discourse is no longer within the bounds of constitutional values of free speech and free association. Corporate media and social media play a central role in shrinking the space for dissent in an effort to limit the range of political discourse to centre-right and far right, erasing all non-right discourse from the public sphere. There are counter-narratives attempting to challenge this hegemony, through newer strategies of resistance to power. This chapter argues that if justice and equality for all are accepted as the basic principles of democracy, the existing spaces for dissent and debate must be defended and expanded. A majority vote in periodical elections is no indicator of a robust democracy.
KeywordsDemocracy Agonism Media Social media Electoral politics Counter-narratives Fascism
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