The Era of Narrative Building: Success and Failure

- Anima Singh (Christian College of Engineering and Technology, Bhilai)

Narrative building is an essential art of diplomacy, especially when it comes to governing state and building international relations. Narrative can be simply understood as any attempt to assert a particular perspective or interpretation of any event. For instance, it was the narrative built by Colonisers that native cultures across the globe are uncivil and there exited no social system ever in society before their advent. Surprisingly, people bought that narrative well and it led to a whole generation to believe in the concept and acceptance of, ‘White Man’s Supremacy’.

It was all the language game where rulers and monarchs infuse their opinion by hard or soft power into the minds of people by using a certain type of language and build a narrative. It is not long ago, when few JNU students disrupted the meaning of ‘Azaadi’ and set it up into the narrative to get freedom from casteism, racism, capitalism etc. and slowly and steadily moved forward to bring ‘Azaadi’ in the undertones to support Afzal Guru, to support anti-India sentiments on various issues and justified it by calling it the freedom from the oppressive states as they put it.

There was a surge of expressions, ‘left liberals’, ‘intellectuals’ ‘socialist’ and using them under the connotation of our heros like, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Netaji Shubash Chandra Bose and many others. Nonetheless, it was a classic example of failure of building a narrative. Although, few young spirited mind do got an idea of politics and power of rallies but it did not serve its purpose. Now, what was the purpose of creating such a narrative? It was overall a separatist and sectarian approach to disrupt the functioning of state. It was a failed narrative because the members of such groups tried entering national politics with the little fame they gathered inside the campus. But as soon they entered politics, they failed miserably despite carrying the left liberal and intellectual ideas.
A similar failure we are witness in this saga of Canadian narrative of Nigger killing. Justin Trudeau abruptly dropped a message or rather declared that Indian government was involved in the killing of Nigger. When asked about the supporting evidences, he had none. When questioned directly about such accusations then, he talks about Canada being a democratic country who values freedom of expression and other unnecessary expressions which would not benefit answer. This is called beating around the bush which is very commonly found in speeches and narratives of those culprits who had committed the crime and who furtively moves away from the context and complicate things in words and narrations.

When a leader or head of government says something , it sets the tone of the policies and attitude of the state because he/she is the spokesperson of the government. Again the question is same, ‘What is the purpose of setting such a narrative?’ It is out loud in the streets by now that Canada is supporting the Khalistan Movement and making it gain international attention. Now again, ‘Why now? Is this the suitable time for floating such narratives’?
The external forces trying to divide India using models including K2 model (Kashmir and Khalisatan) has grown understanding that after abrogation of Article 370,the other ‘K’ needs to be proliferated. Therefore, the narrative has begun to laid down with new modifications now which has rooted itself in twentieth century. Language is a great tool to set these ideas and subversion of ideas. When Trudeau found himself in hot waters, his ministers took over the podium and media to control the uncontrolled version of their narrative that almost backfired and raised the his unpopularity. Trudeau is not just one, there are several leaders whose speeches and communal and sectarian language use has caused much chaos in society.

Diplomacy talks a different language and leaders are much aware of it. Sometimes unconsciously and often consciously, diplomacy uses this language tool to construct opinions and down filtrate any idea or belief which after few years either lost in interpretation or if gained momentums can cause revolution. The kind of cultural renaissance that we are experiencing right now, sat its narrative back in 1970s when post-colonial literature were firmly rooted in the minds of people. Decolonizing minds as it is called is the part of subverting the narratives set by Western forces. The same story can have different perspectives the only thing to find out is, who is telling the story or who is setting the narrative!

Anima Singh
Assistant Professor English
Christian College of Engineering and Technology, Bhilai


Central Chronicle is daily English Newspaper of Chhattisgarh. Central Chronicle has own website it is first news website in Chhattisgarh.

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