Spectacle of Violence

“And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one subject to another like flame of a blow-lamp.”

From: 1984, George Orwell

People are angry and they are not angry at any particular thing, they are just angry. The target of anger and rage keeps changing. It could be anyone or anything. It does not even matter, they want to shout, blame, kill, destroy: they are in the middle of orgasm of violence. All violence had to be defended and celebrated. Whether, it is on Dalit, Muslim, or Nature, anything perceived as an obstacle to the promised land, must be destroyed. There is no place for things like democracy and deliberation in this rage. The destruction has to be ruthless and efficient. In its wake, it would swallow everything; institutions, as well as ideologies.

While all this is happening, the violence is celebrated. Dalits are beaten, Muslims are murdered, Kashmiris are killed and blinded and all this is celebrated. The necessity of violence is being explained, discussed and defended. They want blood. They want revenge. They want results. This rage must be fed with fear and the promise of the spectacle of violence. Lynching, flogging, killing is not enough. All of this must also be celebrated, must be set as a precedent for all. The violence must be pedagogic.

Killing is not enough, dead are of no use for the pedagogy of violence. Bring in the pellet guns, it not only kills but also marks the body makes it the site of violence. It remains with you, disciplining you, guiding you, coercing you into obedience. Violence transcends the moment of conflict and enters into every day. It leaves scars. The sound of ‘surgical’ is soothing. It smells of precision, accuracy and efficiency: hallmarks of a great civilization. It announces its arrival.

All of us sit in abominable silence, waiting for our turn. Waiting for the moment when the gaze is on us. When we are in the midst of this spectacle. But do not be fooled, for this lust of violence will consume all: memories and imagination.

Navigating between politics, philosophy, and literature.