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Why South Asia needs an Egyptian-Style Revolution?

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" I consider that in no government power can be abused long. Mankind will not bear it. If a sovereign oppresses his people to a great degree, they will rise and cut off his head. There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny that will keep us safe under every form of government."    -    Boswell: Life of Johnson

 There is hope for the pathetic Middle East and the Arab World in general. Whether a similar hope exists for the as pathetic if not more South Asia I'm curious to know. An inhumanly corrupt, degenerate and criminalized civil society -- its middle classes have long sold their souls to the gods of consumerism; the emotional dependence on that scourge of humanity -- religion; divisions along caste, color, language, ethnicity and communal lines; the false aesthetic that comes out of the reactionary media and movie industry, an aesthetic that celebrates violence and sexual slavery as being normal and ethical; the elites -- the true wretched of the earth, addicted to power in an insecure, pathological way, a bunch of fiddling Neros living in glass houses and throwing stones at others out of sheer boredom and decadent exhaustion, they'll use every means at their disposal to preserve their morbid lifestyles - all these factors will come in the way of a genuine revolution.   

A deeply disunited society can only be united by politics of bread and freedom. Poverty, horrendously rising prices, a life deprived of basic human dignity -- these are the things that'll bring the poor together. There is a moment in the waiting -- a moment ready to explode across nations of South Asia beginning with Pakistan which is no longer a nation but a bunch of fiefdoms put together, hurtling towards inevitable collapse; India, a regional bully and locally a warlord which would certainly be a Pakistan if it did not have that 5% of personnel in the administration who combine efficiency with empathy and honesty to keep the system going, this small group of genuine believers in democracy are the unknown heroes that give credibility to a faltering system, otherwise a nation of cowards who instinctively bend to power and authority; there is hope for smaller nations such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal the unfortunate neighbors of India, but their classist mentality, power-hungry politicians and the dubious Indian role in their governments will not allow change to happen.

A revolution is imperative -- the timing is the issue. A colonial mind-set is incapable of thinking in anti-colonial terms. A colonized state cannot be destroyed except by anti-colonial, fundamentally egalitarian attitudes that emerge from an understanding of the role of resistance in history. For the oppressed of the world, the remedy is in "human nature" as the wise Dr. Johnson observes. Tyranny must be fought and tyrants reminded that their heads could be politely disconnected from the rest of their bodies unless they know power is not invincible and nameless masses have the last word.

Third World unity is the answer to Western neocolonialism which will not come to an end unless we come out of the exploitative global financial system which benefits the rich but has nothing for the poor. Eqbal Ahmad speaks of a "system of apartheid in which the poor are separated from the rich and the rich are connected to the West, to the metropolis." The apartheid regime keeps getting stronger by the day and must be conclusively defeated if the world must have a future -- more so the vast spaces of Asia, Africa and Latin America that the West has decided will be its dumping grounds for waste of every possible kind ranging from nuclear to cheap and useless trash that fill third world markets turning them into zombies consuming goods we don't need.

Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan -- they've a long way to go for the revolution to succeed. The revolution will have succeeded when they've wiped out the forces of reaction to make space for a classless society which will give the downtrodden a provision to a decent life. That'll not happen in a day, month or year. The first step in that direction has been made for sure.

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Prakash Kona is a writer, teacher and researcher who lives in Hyderabad, India. He is currently Professor at the Department of English Literature, The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad.


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