Weapons of Psychological Terror
India is currently seeing an unprecedented wave of communal hate. It is officially patronized and its targets are Muslims and Christians, non-Hindu citizens of India.
There are many forms of terror. One of the objectives of terror is to harass, torture, demoralize, oppress and eventually subjugate. In old times conquerors used rape, massacres and arson to subjugate the people they conquered. Brutal violence against women was and is very effectively used to oppress and subjugate, even today, in conflicts. India is currently seeing an unprecedented wave of communal hate. It is officially patronized and its targets are Muslims and Christians, non-Hindu citizens of India.
We have seen widely amplified hate speeches being made and go unpunished. We have heard shrill calls for genocides against non-Hindus, being propagated as the religious duty of Hindus. We have witnessed mass oath-takings to murder non-Hindus to 'protect' the Hindu religion. There have been mass oaths taken to boycott Muslims socially and economically and to drive them out of their homes. While all these have been widely reported, the Government has turned a blind eye towards it, pretending that they have not heard the shrill din of hatred. It shows that this is being done according to their design in order to retain power and to polarise and divide the nation on the basis of religious lines. 'Saints' have congregated and under the guise of 'dharma sansad' religious assemblies, undiluted venom of hatred towards non-Hindus, Muslims in particular, has been freely spewed at these very irreligious 'Assemblies'. Hindus have been commanded to arm themselves, to use those arms freely to kill Muslims and non-Hindus. We have laws against propaganda of hate but none of the Governments, states or unions initiated prosecution against this unrestrained campaign of hate. It has been left to a few right-minded citizens to finally appeal to the Supreme Court to hear their plea and hopefully order the prosecution of these hatemongers.
But they have achieved much of their objectives, of dividing the people. Non-Hindus now feel a sense of alienation in the land of their birth, in a nation that constitutionally grants them equal rights; for the first time, they are feeling like second class citizens, insecure in their own homes and neighborhoods, alienated in society, that they don't belong, and aren't safe in the country of their forefathers. The hate mongers have succeeded in instilling a sense of divisions amongst the citizens of one nation. This is the apparent and easily identifiable face of the hate mongers. Due to their visibility, it would be easier to deal with. But there is a much more sinister and brutal weapon of psychological terror: harassment and subjugation. And it is much more devious.
These are the recently exposed technology apps deployed on Social Media. A very sinister and ominous use of technology is deployed to harass torture and defame, the same way as rape used in the time of war. Indians, the right-thinking ones have been shocked by the discovery of the Bully Bai App, Sulli Deals and now Tek Fog. Three innocuous-sounding technology applications. Bully Bai and Sulli Deals Apps mostly listed Muslim women for auction. Several eminent Muslim women, outspoken against oppression and communal hate were posted for auction on these sites. Their photographs were morphed and photoshopped to show them naked. Their social media profiles were publicly deployed so they could be defamed, humiliated and harassed with the objective of intimidating, subjugating and silencing them. When Sulli Deals was exposed a few victims attempted to file complaints with the police against the harassment, they were stonewalled. The police dragged their feet and the investigations did not proceed. Even appeals to the Government and concerned senior ministers fell on deaf ears. It was apparent that officially, the support was for the criminals. Not even token lip sympathy was offered to the victims. While the PM promotes his scheme for the defense of daughters by strengthening them with education and opportunity, he has not even criticized these criminal acts of psychological terror. This too is a part of their larger design to change the character of the Indian Nation. A weapon they are wielding astutely, with devastating results.
Recently a media company, The Wire, declared the results of their long term investigation: the use of the Tek Fog app for surveillance, manipulation and harassment. This one is insidious. It is used to manipulate social media trends, subvert ones that are unacceptable and promote false trends to make their opinions seem to be popular, viral. The investigations carried out by The Wire expose another very disturbing use of Tek Fog, of identifying, targeting, and harassing women media persons and journalists who are known as crusaders against the fanatics and in turn, the present Union Government and its parent organization, the radical RSS, another psychological terror tool of harassment and subjugation. The Wire has established how the IT Cell of the ruling political party, BJP, has been using Tek Fog to target political opponents in civil society. This kind of harassment is not new. It was seen in the US during the McCarthy era persecutions. But even then, the saner element eventually put an end to it. In today's India, the government, through its inaction and political processes, seems to be very clearly the beneficiary of this campaign of psychological terror.
There is an even more insidious element to this trend. A year or more ago, it was discovered that under the pretext of national security, the government had procured a surveillance software, Pegasus, from NSO, an Israeli tech company. It was revealed that beyond the national security pretext, Pegasus was being used as a surveillance tool on government ministers, both of the union government and of state governments, and also on political opponents, journalists who opposed the government, and civil society opponents. There was an outcry against this undemocratic, illegal and blatantly unconstitutional practice. The government is yet to come clean on the Pegasus matter and is even attempting to thwart a judicial investigation.
This is psychological warfare of a very insidious kind the present Indian government has unleashed it on its own citizens. This does not bode well for our democracy and the cherished idea of an inclusive, humane, equal India as envisaged by our founders. But the present union Government and the political ideology are always a part of, and have always rejected that idea of India, and acted in a way to subvert and replace it. Now that they are in power and almost unchallenged, they have gone into overdrive and are deploying every weapon in their armory.
In April 1930, on the eve of breaking the colonial Salt law and defying the British Empire, M. K. Gandhi sent a message to the world. 'I want world sympathy in this battle of right against might’ he appealed. Today, as sane India strives to save Indian democracy from the lunatics, it once again appeals to the world for sympathy and solidarity in this battle of Right against Might.