Guest post by RIJUL KOCHHAR
Turn on the television any given day now, and you will be greeted by the news-media in unison informing you about the psychosis of fear—“north east fear/scare” is a useful shorthand—that seems to have gripped some of our fellow citizens. The numerous characterizations, all of which are variations on a theme, are not only ill-informed, they are also wholly inadequate and directionless. What does it mean to say that north-easterners are in the grip of fear, running away herd-like to their corners of the home-world? The bovine image, though useful in the sense of visualizing the sheer numbers involved, doesn’t allow us to think beyond.
This piece is an attempt in that direction. The fear is real, it is palpable on the railway platforms and at airports of major cities, and it surely has had the potency to disrupt a large number of people in the steps and motions of their daily lives. Others, including on Kafila, have written about the contentious issue of borders and migrants, of numbers and mutable identities; The Hindu has featured a series of interesting articles under the Sunday Story section, delineating the central role of information-technology and communication—technology whose role itself has radically transmuted amidst the last few months of the troubles, where we have seen the emergence of the cellphone screen as the new, unchartered frontier of radical, affective simulacra. Fingers have been raised, especially by our ever-articulate military-intelligence-scholarly community, against the customary foreign hand, and many of their accusations, might, in the days ahead, speak their own truth.