In his new literary piece, award-winning academician Frank Dikotter talks about how naked power can be grabbed and held temporarily, and How Mind of Dictator works, but it never suffices in the long term. The book also makes the reader ask that at a time when democracy is in retreat, are we seeing a revival of the same techniques among some of today’s world leaders?
Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, Nicolai Ceausescu, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Francois Duvalier: No dictator can rule through fear and violence alone. In “How to Be a Dictator” (Bloomsbury), the author returns to eight of the most chillingly effective personality cults of the twentieth century.
This timely study, told with great narrative verve, examines how a cult takes hold, grows, and sustains itself. It places the cult of personality where it belongs, at the very heart of tyranny.
A tyrant who can compel his own people to acclaim him will last longer. The paradox of the modern dictator is that he must create the illusion of popular support. Throughout the twentieth century, hundreds of millions of people were condemned to enthusiasm, obliged to hail their leaders even as they were herded down the road to serfdom.
The book also talks about how, from carefully choreographed parades to the deliberate cultivation of a shroud of mystery through iron censorship, these dictators ceaselessly worked on their own image and encouraged the population at large to glorify them.
Dikotter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His books have changed the way historians view China, from the classic “The Discourse of Race in Modern China” to his award-winning People’s Trilogy documenting the lives of ordinary people under Mao. (IANS)
“Urban Naxal” and launched it in ‘World Book Fair’ held in Delhi
I want to ask Jignesh Mevani, from whom he wants freedom
The controversy related to the movie, “Budhha in traffic Jam” made Vivek Agnihotri a sensation overnight. There were several protests against the movie and there was chaos related to the screening of the movie in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Vivek was even trolled and threatened for his movie but he didn’t dog down and came up with his book.
Recently, Vivek has come up with his new book, “Urban Naxal” and launched it in ‘World Book Fair’ held in Delhi. The publisher of his book is Garuda Publications. Through this book, he has raised his voice against anti-nationals and the people who crib against the policies of the government.
In an exclusive interview with Vikram Khajuria of NewsGram, Vivek expressed his views about the controversies in which he was involved in. He was also congratulated by the NewsGram team on his book launch. Excerpts:
Question: The book that you have published with Garuda Publication and as this is a new publication, so what are your expectations from this publication. All the books launched today are based on some of the other ideology.
Answer: People should not have expectations from publication; rather it should be from readers. The expectations should be from the people who will buy these books and read them. People are buying books and books are being consumed in India. People should write about India and its problem. It’s an aspect of the country that the Garuda publication is fighting for. That’s why I am standing with them.
Question: The comments that you have recently received on your controversial movie, “Buddha in a Traffic Jam” and the book you have launched today. Is there any connection between both of them?
Answer: Of course yes, because from that movie, I got to know what was going on in this country? Before that, my life was very comfortable and I was making movies with Bollywood stars. With this movie, I got to know that the people who are creating narratives and are trying to break the country.
Question: Your every movie is different from your last movie. You have come from ‘Chocolate’ to ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’, so are you trying to set a trend in Bollywood because many successful Bollywood directors have set a particular trend. Prakash Jha has a different style and Sanjay Leela Bhansali has some unique genre. So, is your all the movies are on the same lines?
Answer: I belong to a village and I am from very poor family. I want to learn filmmaking and how will I learn filmmaking, if I will make only comedy or horror films and also without experimenting.
Those people are wealthy enough and as they have enough money. They can carry on with their trends with what their family is doing since long but I have to work out daily. Once I do something, I move on to learn something new. But after ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’, the trend has been changed. I am making a film on Shastri Ji and I will keep experimenting.
Question: You have openly challenged Jignesh Mevani for an open debate. So, what do you want to ask him?
Answer: I want to know about his ideologies and from what he wants to get free from. Today India needs freedom from inefficiency, unhygienic and corruption. Does India need freedom from itself only? So, if every state wants from India, where will we live? Will India survive? So, I want to ask him, from whom he wants freedom, why is he so frustrated and what is his problem and what is his vision. If he has some vision, he needs to answer it. So, I want him to answer him on these issues. I know these people very well. These people do not have anything to say. Their only agenda is to break Indian parliament by 2025 by bombs and ammunition. But we people won’t let it happen
Question: In one of your tweets, you have commented on the quality of stand-up comedy in India. Are you targeting everyone?
Answer: If you look at Sharad Joshi and Hari Shankar Prasad, they all write satire. The business of a comedian is to squib on social issues. It should be done by a satirist. They should not be indulged in taunting handicapped people, women, homosexuals, Indian people, people who can’t speak English and always abusing in their conversation.
Question: Are you trying to target AIB (All India Bakchod) through your comments?
Answer: I am not targeting anyone and nor do I know about the AIB. But generally speaking, the standards of English stand-up comedians have really gone down, whereas, it should have gone up. The comedians of nowadays are stealing the joke from the western countries and they don’t have anything of their own. The older legends like Jaspal Bhatti and Raju Shrivastava were much better than today’s stand-up comedians.
Question: Do you think that there is such atmosphere in our country that if you do not comply with what other is saying, it means your ideologies are different. Sometimes, our own family members do not comply with our thoughts. So, is it wise to target particular wing and troll them? Sometimes you tend to target politicians and media. What do you want to say about it?
Answer: In this world, if you won’t do that, people will start comparing between fat and small and then they will fight. God has given us such a mind that helps us to make a balance and without it, the world will not prosper. We should utilize it in productive things rather than squandering. People who have the narrative in their hands are all rich and affluent class and they want that we people should keep fighting on such petty issues. The questio how we are going to deal with the strategy of divide and rule. So, we have to raise our voice against such atrocities and have to come over it.