The Spectre of Post-Truth and Right-Wing Majoritarian Nationalism in South Asian Politics

A spectre is haunting the world- the sceptre of Ring-Wing Majoritarian Nationalism. It is important to analyse the recent resurgence of Far-right discourse in a number of countries and the role played by the phenomenon of Post-truth in breeding it. The two significant global events where the obfuscation of facts, abandonment of observable reality and outright lying were clearly visible have been the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections and the Brexit Vote. The primary focus of this paper shall be to analyse the presence of post-truth phenomenon in South Asian political discourse with central focus on India. The role of media in furthering the ideology of the ruling regime while muffling and demonizing the voices of dissent and protest in the public arena will be discussed. The underlying idea remains that an individual’s prejudices, pre-conceived notions and cognitive biases are fed through social media narratives or simply through biased political discourse, dismissing facts, statistics and reason. In the essay “On Public Opinion”, William Hazlitt describes a public where people only accepted information that was in sync with their world-view and dismissed any ideas that did not, despite obvious evidence. This is actually the more disturbing and damaging part about Post-Truth, that it is a condemnation of the masses, especially when they happen to be a privileged majority and their denial of the existing power-structures in the society. The reason I have specifically mentioned Right-Wing Nationalism in the title as the political ideology in the context of post-truth is that it has benefitted on a large-scale, I India, from this distortion of reality. The aim of this paper would be to gauge that affinity between the two in the political discourse of the subcontinent and the means to resist it.

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