DailyPost 2620

We might keep talking whatever we feel like, try substantiating our point of view, may even bring down opponents in a variety of battles, some genuine too, but the fact of the matter is, whether democracy has been brought down to just a battle of perceptions. The real battles have been lost in the well laid out democratic sands for the same purpose. Publicity and governance have got so intertwined with each other that it is very difficult to differentiate between the two. When reality has no role to play in the elections and democratic governance of this country, then take a guess what plays the most critical role in our existence?

Emanating from a well designed, neatly thought out and meticulously calibrated publicity campaign, it is the creation of a perception which can go deep into people’s hearts and minds. The first casualty is reality, the universal acceptance that it can be dealt with. Having dealt with that surreptitiously you feel that you have developed the capability to move people to vote in your favor and secondly to maintain the public opinion swaying to your side. Democracy is not a one time game, people take no time in swinging against you, one incident may just backfire or your opponent can create bad publicity which sticks on to you.

Perception is not a recent creation and it has been the urge of human beings to be perceived well. Only when you are perceived well that you command influence and gain respect of the people who matter to you. The best way to achieve it and quite rightly so is by doing things which lead to some valuable / commendable achievements and having a behavior and attitude that draws acclaim. Delivery in democracy leading to improvement in quality of life and leapfrogging of the economy is of quintessential value. If a leader or party or government achieves it quantifiably and makes it known to the people, improving its image, so it be. Appreciation for good work is what all humans long for. In politics, expecting or trying to garner votes in this manner is perfectly fine.

The battle for perception means taking a detour from the above. Mostly they would fail in achieving the essentials stated and worse still they would have never attempted it. A machine to create perception is what political parties have become. Even the welfare state is being defined the way they want. If the effort in creating content for WhatsApp could have been used for productive purposes, the fate of documentation in this country would have been radically different. Exploiting multimedia fully in every manner and making social media your vehicle of success manifests the practice of perception management as its fullest. From political strategists to digital marketing, the Indian political landscape is getting farther off from reality. With perceptions today being able to win elections and also make you a larger than life persona, it has innumerable takers.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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