Violence has become the new norm of governments that confront dissent. Since the time of partition, governments have not let go of any chance in replaying this pathological drama like commercial ads on TV screens. One feels that there is a certain sense of similarity to it. One is the idea of repetition and the other is the idea of consumption. Like commercial ads on TV channels, violence historically has been a continuum, both as repetition as well as consumption. The illiteracy of the polity in understanding these situations through matured ways of resolution seems to be a distant dream with acts of sedition and securitization in place against its own people.

These situations of suppression through violence and seditious acts sometimes makes one think about what the famous psychoanalyst Ashis Nandy spoke about -- " The colonization of the mind" in his book “The Intimate Enemy.” From Albert Memmi to Ashis Nandy, it has become quite clear that the idea of colonization is no longer about the invasion of territories but rather about colonization of the minds where one no longer carries the memories of violence but destroys the very idea of it by silencing the victim.

Two recent events have reached a pathological level of silencing on the people's front. One is the outcry over the death of the twenty year old Burhan Wani and the other is the so called anti-naxal operation in Kandhamal where five civilians were killed including a two year old child. From Kashmir to Kandhamal, the politics of the present day NDA-led Modi Government in furthering its agenda of nationalism and development is clear. With death tolls in Kashmir ever increasing and the idea of compensation following loss of civilian life becoming a regular routine for the Odisha government, the value of life in the larger sense seems to be hijacked by imposing two of the most undemocratic ideas of the 20th century - nationalism and development.

In fact, one almost feels the hypocrisy of romanticizing these two ideas which historically have not only shown that they are undemocratic but also genocidal in every sense. But still, India's hologram Prime Minister Modi and his party feels the necessity for imposing these ideas through various policy instruments and securitarian measures.

With the advent of state sponsored killing, violence in one sense has become a collective commodity of consumption. One wonders, whether this collective capacity to consume violence by our society is a threat to the very idea of democracy that a country like India boasts of at the international arena. In fact secretly, one feels that the nation-state as an entity and the mechanisms of science with which it operates requires a truth commission, which will not only help in redeeming itself from the tyranny but also will act as a self-reflective mirror in the Gandhian sense.

The pathological state of a country like India today lies in the way how it has created violence as a scientific objective commodity between a spectator and a consumer of violence. A spectator of violence not only restricts himself to the act of distancing but also slowly becomes a part of a consumption pattern that internalizes violence. In fact, the news channels and newspapers go a step further in this process of internalization. They not only consume violence as a commodity but also portray violence through a reductionist framework. In doing so, violence no longer seems to be a part of a disturbing memory but becomes a mere event which is consumed as a commodity in the everyday sense. What one confronts as a society today is this collective politics of engagement with violence where a spectator who attains a state of normalcy in the everyday sense becomes a consumer of such acts.

Terror is a particular form of violence. Terror in every sense has a touch of technology to it. Its choices are random, yet logical. It is in the same sense, that one has to see that violence as a collective politics of engagement and consumption may seem random but has the logic of nationalism and development under it whether it be Kashmir or Kandhamal. In this case, the Indian nation-state as a political entity along with its majoritarian vote bank of people become the perpetrators who have been seduced under the under the logic of nationalism and development.

In a strange way, the production and consumption becomes a great of cause of concern. In fact it shows that as a society we are becoming less caring and indifferent. The silence over the violence in Kashmir and Kandhamal reflects a broader crisis of the future that a democracy is going to face. As a student, I can recollect the number of the times we along with our professors have cried as we discussed such incidents in class. Yet, the society outside seems to be very normal.

(The writer is with KIIT & KISS. He is also the cofounder of a student organization named Rhythm of Nation. Currently, he is an independent researcher in the field of Knowledge studies)

(Cover Photograph: A man injured by pellet guns in the recent violence in Kashmir. Photo credit: Saqib Majeed).