Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Left Right Left

It's like an imaginary town where there are two islands: left and right. Both of them have stood since centuries housing civilizations, growing, evolving as they think they have been. For them change is growth which of course is the bane of the human mind of every generation. Things change, in some framework its growth and evolution, in the other, it is not. An interesting thing to note is that both these islands started with the same initial conditions. But now they have reached a situation that they vie for each other’s blood.

It is impossible to document all the changes these islands have gone through. But every change has manifested in one island through a reaction or a protest in response to correct the havoc spread by the policies of the other island. Through centuries the battle lines have been drawn both physically as well as in the minds. Be it the French revolution or the fame of Kabir, U.S and U.K political parties or our very own BJP and CPI (Congress has been on the either side of center going with the times. Right now it is trying to find its position it seems). History has produced both crests and troughs of these entities for us to savior. But somewhere in our love for the extremes and the great, one need also to look at how much of these battles have been fought at the ground level. The crest and trough are all but extreme points in the wave that has traversed through the annals of time. Be it research papers, news items, family discussion or tea stall discussions at my village; these two forces battle each other. On a large scale, in the last century, a big battlefront has been the academic field of economics. Recently a new and fresh battleground has emerged, a battle front accessible to the common man where intense debates have been conducted at the ideological level. This is called Facebook and twitter.

It is easy to post on Facebook. In this battle, you do not need bows and arrows, guns, tanks or even pens. A slight provocation and sharing a news article or an opinion piece can lead your attack on the representatives of the ideologies. Be it Narendra Modi or Arvind Kejriwal, Abhijeet or some writers of this country, no one is spared in this battle between the left or the right. Most of the times they are not even aware that they have been used on Facebook or twitter by people to showcase their own affinities.  

These battles on Facebook are free of cost sans the time one gives to them. Hence during election times, where the politicians are fighting to garner votes, my Facebook friends are busy posting articles that support or deride on the politician or the other. If there is a policy announcement or a conflict of interest, it is on Facebook too. Facebook is their Kurukshetra. And the best thing, they can do it sitting in their own offices. At the ground level, people wield trishuls and sickles. At the elite level, they wield posts and comments.

How is this going to pan out in the future? We all know about the vagaries of time. How time has shortened in every field, be it sports (T20) or education (3 months executive programs). The time for these battles has and will shorten. Earlier people used to communicate and argue through letters. Now they write two or three lines and argue through posts and tweets. Like they are free to write letters, they are free to post anything of their choice. But unlike letters which are personal, the posts are a public good to be consumed by anybody who is a friend and logs in. Hence someday one just stares wide-eyed on the Facebook wall because every post is either a left or right opinion of some big thing happening. Like a lotus in dirty waters, one searches for that one post to click or like in the midst of all the quarrel going around. And we don’t even realize we are a part of history, since the time those islands were formed.

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