Emergency –A Self Justifying Ideological Tool in a Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Sadia Ashraf


During last century theorists of power analysis have been struggling to find the answer to the question as to why the class, economically poor and technically less equipped always accept the relations of power and relations of production in society.  The paper suggests that Rohinton Mistry in A Fine Balance” (1996) writes with Marxists consciousness with acute realization of the exploitation of the marginalized with the increased degree of sophistication of cultural and economic hegemony. This paper investigates the theories of power i-e ideology, hegemony and discourse to help find the root- cause of the issue as to how power structure wins the consentment of the masses to the unequal powers of relation and production in society. How the system works so implicitly that people not only become a willing participants in their own exploitation rather they accept the phenomena as the only existing truth. “The material world around us is built on contradictory, contrived and illusory realities” (Peter& Luckman), 1966, p.46).  The theorist  of  ‘race’ and’ gender’ regard their compartmentalization as a process of othering and indigenous colonization that certain races and groups are deliberately kept backward, for capitalistic need of  labor group to keep the machine running. Post structuralist and post –Marxists reject the idea of economic determinism; these are not material concerns always behind all class wars but lust for power and domination holds some other issues as well. All types of isms, fanatic creeds are harmful for the world’s balance and peace. Fundamentalism, extremism, universalism, and essentialism and nationalism etc. are eating into the vitals of the country and these need to be shunned if world is to run smoothly. This paper explores the intricate working of power structure; how a belief system works to smooth the contradiction to appear a “False consciousness” a “common sense” and thus the absolute and eternal truth.  This paper is meant to detach the power of truth from the fabricated phenomena of imposed “Emergency” as “need of hour” (1996, p.113).  The paper explores the lived experience of this period by different classes and thus two diverse images of “Emergency” emerge which are contradictory to each other, proving emergency to be a polyphonic discourse. The study aims at to destabilize the proletariat’s instant consent to power relations by unmasking the mystified reality of Emergency which was actually imposed to hide the fraud in elections by the then Prime-Minister Mrs. Ghandhi. State uses all means; all power tools; repressive and ideological to give the reality a false coloring of their own interest. Ideology, hegemony and discourse all the three theories of power are manipulated by the state machinery to make public not only comply with all political decisions instantly but  to accept it as only existing reality. Marx writes “As for individual bureaucrat, the purpose of the state becomes his private purpose, a hunt for promotion careerism” (Marx, 1975, p. 111).

Keywords: Ideology, Hegemony, Discourse, State apparatuses (Ideological and repressive) False-consciousness, Common sense Euphuism, Polyphony.

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