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New India: What to focus on – ‘Positivity Rate’ or ‘Positivity Drive’?

If the reality is ‘negative’ news, let’s face it. If the reality is ‘positive’ news, let’s rejoice in it! But, let’s not ‘build’ positive news by concealing the reality!

The one ‘positive’ we all are afraid of is the COVID positive report. However, the summer of 2020 saw a series of meetings in New Delhi to spread another kind of ‘positivity’ – the ‘positive news’. The attempt was at controlling the narrative and building a positive perception about the government’s works through methods like the ‘colour-coding’ of journalists.

In fact, the slogan of ‘Acche din aane wale hai’ in the 2014 elections was all about providing that bit of ‘feel-good’ factor to the citizens distressed by the poor governance of the UPA-2 regime. The Prime Minister himself talked about making positive things viral, instead of negative ones in his 2018 Mann ki Baat. Three years down the line, have we made any great strides towards bringing positive changes in the lives of millions of Indian citizens? The data below may show the contrary!

India Ranking in Different Indices
Ranking of India in Different Indices.
Source: Reports of UNDP, WEF, Transparency International, EIU, Reporters without Borders, World Bank, Welthungerhilfe.

This time, the attempt is to ‘celebrate the power of positivity and the strengths of 130 crore Indians’ by collecting inspiring stories for the upcoming Mann ki Baat on May 30, 2021. The years-long continuous and ebullient endeavours by the national government of the sixth-largest economy of the world to spread positivity in the society shows something not-so-positive in the country. It’s time we declutter this web of ‘positivity’.

It is just a diaphanous fabric that separates ‘positivity’ from ‘toxic positivity‘. Quite often, the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience. PM’s statement of ‘Sab Changa Si’ (Everything is fine) in the Howdy Modi event of 2019 at a time when the Indian economy was showing signs of a looming recession and Jammu & Kashmir was being stripped off its special status & civil rights is an apt example of what toxic positivity looks like. The recent denial of any shortage of oxygen and beds by Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath is another such example. However, such ‘positivity’ drives negativity into the system and complacency of unaccountability develops.

Have we become so weak as a civilization that we can’t face the reality of these times and, instead, have to build a cocoon of ‘positivity’ to survive? Throughout our history, we find enough instances of events that shook the very foundations of our civilization, and yet, our ancestors faced the reality with determination and resilience, instead of covering up the things to avoid spread of ‘negative’ news. Had Dadabhai Naoroji’s ‘Drain Theory’ not revealed the crippling economic policies of the British Raj, could we ever reach the reality behind the veil of ‘positivity’ that was used by the British to legitimize their rule? In fact, it took more than 100 years of concerted efforts by our ancestors to throw off this veil.

At a time when positivity rates are touching an all-time high, the energy of the largest social organization of India – the RSS – seems to be directed more towards spreading ‘toxic’ positivity, paradoxically in a country where nearly 100 dead bodies have been found floating in its most pious river – the Ganges. The ‘Positivity Unlimited’ lecture series unveils its endeavour towards toxic positivity when Sadhguru explains the irrelevance of daily number of COVID cases while sitting in the USA. When a spiritual leader of the stature of Jaggi Vasudev tells his fellow people to stop caring about what is happening around, and instead care just about yourself – about how to handle the disease, you know that the degeneration of civilization has reached a level which is affecting even the ‘spiritual gurus’. In fact, the day citizens stop caring for their fellow beings, the vibrancy of any democracy vanishes.

Let’s not degrade our vibrant democracy to a level where the motivation towards plagiarism flows from the top! Let’s not give the credit of the Oxford/AstraZeneca scientists who developed the sought-after vaccine to an Indian company that simply produced it. Let’s not bring disrepute to our country by spreading articles from unknown namesakes of respectable international media houses like The Guardian and The Australian. As a civilization, let’s channelize our efforts to save our fellow people, instead of building our impression in the international community – because, in the words of our Prime Minister, Jaan hai to Jahaan hai” (If there’s life, there’s civilization)!

Rather than crediting all positives to the regime, and all negatives to the ‘enemies of the state’, we, as a democracy and as ideological inheritors of our freedom fighters, have the moral responsibility of taking the society forward while accounting for the positives as well as the negatives of all the governments democratically elected by us – we, the people!

If the reality is ‘negative’ news, let’s face it. If the reality is ‘positive’ news, let’s rejoice in it! But, let’s not ‘build’ positive news by concealing the reality!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are of the author solely. TheRise.co.in neither endorses nor is responsible for them.

About the author

Prateek Yadav

Prateek Yadav is a student of Political Science and writes on contemporary political issues.

Prateek Yadav

Prateek Yadav is a student of Political Science and writes on contemporary political issues.

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