Post by ltlee1
"The pujas offer the Bengal chief minister the unique opportunity to project herself as a woman who means almost everything to everyone – protector of Bengali tradition, the liberal religious culture of the state, the arts – all adding to the image of the achiever single woman. Somewhere down the line, all this is underpinned by her carefully cultivated image of a self-sacrificing struggling loner.
To achieve this one-image-pleases-all consider what she has done. Spectacle is an important element in Banerjee’s world and her Durga puja strategy is carefully built around images that have high recall value. Imagine a chief minister climbing on a platform and drawing the eyes of a Durga idol, the symbolic act of bringing it to life. She went on an inauguration spree of some of the marquee community pujas that are high-profile events. In almost each inauguration, she delivered brief speeches holding forth on communal harmony in her signature rhetorical style and lambasted the BJP for importing an alien culture in Bengal."
"India's Demographic Divide May Just Lead To Creating Its Very Own White Walker Army
In developing countries like India, public goods like affordable health care and quality education are expected from the government. Research shows that out of pocket expenditure on health is one of the biggest reasons why people cannot get out of poverty and lack of quality education is what prevents them from accessing opportunities to climb the socioeconomic ladder. In our politics, these issues seldom become election issues.
Except for caste and religious consolidation, nothing much really mobilises the masses, especially in state elections. While our politicians keep reminding us of our caste and religious identities, we are on the verge of facing a large number of poor, unemployed youth turning our dividend into a demographic nightmare. A scenario where we have more employment seeking youth than we can manage.
Unemployment is fodder for 'Godmen' to thrive on
If unemployment remains high in future and individuals are stressed, they could seek 'safe havens' under the tutelage of 'godmen'. When people find themselves entrapped in health and/or financial burden arising from information asymmetry about those issues or their inability to pay, they turn to godmen in search of 'miracles'. Low education and a vastly unscientific attitude in our country offer a large audience to these 'godmen'. In return, they offer followers a new-found sense of belonging to a community in times of personal stress. Compounded with a recall and confirmation biases, the 'godmen' instil a blind faith in themselves. When these godmen are questioned, the followers march to protect their safe havens against critical thinking of the outside world.
What we saw during the trial of Gurmeet Ram Rahim of Dera Sacha Sauda was a manifestation of a similar scenario with a unique scale and urgency. It did not seem to matter to his followers that their leader was found guilty of rape. They marched against the judiciary's decision as if blind faith in a personality had dazed them away from critical thinking. They were not very different from the White Walkers in Game of Thrones who march on the orders of their king and cannot figure out for themselves either the reason or purpose of their incessant killings."