This post was written 2 years back for a student magazine and is reproduced as it is.
“One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”
George Orwell will not find many admirers in a ‘revolutionary world’ of the day; for his quote not only questions the motive of the revolution but also goes on to answer it in an outrageously blasphemous manner. Revolution has several connotations – symbol of progress to an economist or scientist, a self righteous act to a human rights activist, a cultural upheaval to a philosopher, a shift of power to a politician and just another revolution to The Mass.
Looking around the world today, from West to East almost every country is undergoing some kind of revolution and hence commotion, some in the name of economy, others in the name of democracy and still others in the name of autocracy. The only similarity remains that of commotion but the nature of commotion is so very unique at the micro level – if not every country than definitely for the large number of small group of countries- that perhaps to someone looking from heaven the world would seem like a place of an extremely polarised issues and ideologies divided into several small regions. To an alien, the world might look like a region in a state of several wars.
Most of the countries in present state have outlived their ideology. Irony is that these ideologies have shaped the historical revolutions and hence the societies of the world.
The unconquerable American dream being shattered in 2008 has led to large federal deficits (in simple terms difference between spending and earnings) giving a big blow to Capitalist ideology and causing a transition of a magnanimous creditor nation to the world’s largest debtor. The result is an American society in conflict with its founding ideology.
European nations are facing crisis ranging from bankruptcy to austerity measures and from unemployment to ageing population. The European Union which was formed with the vision to unite Europe and to prevent another world war lives to fight yet another day. Middle East nations are in search of the ever eluding democracy even after rebutting the dictatorial regime.
India a case in point for democratic ideology also find itself in the cross road with the lack of powerful leader at the helm resulting in delayed reforms. The self proclaimed civil society activists who were the toast of the nation in the fight against corruption sometime back seem to be occupied with their future strategy and internal conflicts. Though ironic but the democratic country needs willingness and bull headedness of a dictator. At the moment the reins of the democracy seems to be in the hand of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty which lacks the vision of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, shrewdness of Indira Gandhi, charm of Rajiv Gandhi or even the dictatorial qualities of Sanjay Gandhi. On the other hand the corporate world is in look out for the self fulfilling reforms and The Mass oblivious to all the happenings.
China, the emerging superpower is finding it difficult to establish its authority with its age old communist ideology. Then there are other nations like Pakistan and Afghanistan whose extremist movements have morphed into a demographic Frankenstein.
It is difficult to fathom the exact origin of these revolutions but somehow I cannot stop my mind wondering about the World War III. The world is in the state of war. The war is not between groups of nation but it is a war that individual country is fighting against its founding principles. It is a revolution against a revolution that gave the birth to the present civilisation. May be this war will take generations to end or may be it will never end. This world war will surely not result in genocide or catastrophic loss of lives but it will surely lead to consolidation of countries and our future generations will find a much polarised world with fewer countries and bigger geographical boundaries guarded by disparate and extreme ideologies of dictatorship.
Yes, George Orwell understood the motive of revolutions in a way no one has. His quote stands relevant though still vague. Yes, his prediction that the land of the world will be divided among three big continents in his novel 1984 might go right. I hope his other prediction about the world as a negative utopia goes wrong.
- President Marzouki’s Four ‘Laws of Revolution’ (tunisia-live.net)
- Nehru – Gandhi Yojna Business : Country’s investment into India’s First family (yuvaditya.wordpress.com)
- Orwell Saw Obama Coming (theburningplatform.com)