Beyond an Overton Window at a Capitalism of Information: Legitimacy at a Political Process in Indian Democracy

This article was written by Abhivardhan, a student of Amity University, Lucknow.


Democratic backsliding is certainly different from a constitutional backlash that we face and manipulate in a democracy like India either being a part of the government or the public. However, there is a certain presence of a due escalating Overton window asin other democracies, which is politically conducive and rather beyond the paradigm of a restriction deemed to be omnipresent and vaguely damaging. India, at the enormous settlement of owning a network of information identities, with its due multiplicity of dimensions that are discernible in its political process present and overbearing, when it comes to its own democratic factions in a rather undemocratic parliament, needs to rejuvenate its aspects with regards the political, social, ethnic and individual conundrums that fragment the democratic aspects of human rights, political consciousness and social awakening. Law, in its constitutional sense, from defining privacy rights to determining political liberty and transparency, needs to reinstate the generic modalities as to the persistent backsliding of democratic efforts imbibed and cultivated in a societal democracy of an undemocratic sense.

Information, is becoming the capital of democracies and other kinds of states, wherein, the penetrating impact of data is the causal dimension for illiberal democracies to overlook the democratic consonance that is imbibed with it. In a generic fold, it is necessary to rediscover the social, political, ethnic and individual lines of legitimacy that can be existent in a conscious Indian society so as to prevent this backsliding. This article focuses on the paradigms of an Overton window represented by the polity, wherein it focuses on the social, political, ethnic and individual dimensions of legitimacy that are needed to be discovered and manifested beyond the legal and principled aspects of Indian politics that constructs them with respect to the political dimensionality and utility of information.

Keywords- Overton Window, Democratic Backsliding, Political Legitimacy, Constitutional Polity, Data Science.


Information has become a capital at an aesthetic, legal, cognitive, social, political, economic, ethnic and individual-based identity aspects, which are entirely estimable; wherein, democracies are under a penetrating relativity with the phenomenon of a practical or fake reflection of data. India, one of the diverse and conjugating democracies in the international community, represents a fractal conundrum of democratic backsliding, being different in rate and sense from the US, UK, Italy, Poland and other EU27 democracies. It represents a fractional marginalization of the growing liberal factions of media, public, privacy and political rights, wherein incidents related to them represent a questionable uncertainty so as to the constitutional structure and scope of the Part III of the Constitution of India, 1950, maybe not in a legal[2] but a political sense. Conflicts on subjective issues need a generic aspect for being dealt and resolved, and also instrumented for a matter of conscience. A design of democratic settlements and widespread cognizance is something that crystallizes democratic representation at a simpler, accessible and general sense[3]. The general magnanimous delusion of undemocratic representation, allusion and influence of political proportion is a stringent problem when it comes to the scenario of India.

Wherein the dimensionality and generality of checks and balances must not backslide democratic legitimacy and recognize its further grounds, the Indian politics somehow fails to recognize and stabilize legitimacy standards and breaches various human right privacies and their inherent originalities pursuant thereby[4]. With respect to the pursuant aspect of an Overton window being shifted quite vigorously and unreasonably, it seems that democratic constituents in India lose the characteristic element of discerning and recognizing legitimacy in a wider sense rather than of a limited one, whose one of the best examples is the recent months is the hack of data of TRAI chief via a single Aadhar number[5]. The reaction to this incident was incidentally vague. He did not accept a wave of criticism therein[6][7]. The politics of policy representation is somehow instrumental like other cases, which settles that it becomes quite imperative that legitimacy in the wake of the penetration of information dynamism in an Indian democracy that the political faction of legitimacy is socialized and rather constructed well in a social, political, ethnic and individual lines of political reality. The article deals with the Overton window represented in the polity, wherein it focuses on the social, political, ethnic and individual dimensions of legitimacy with respect to the political dimensionality and utility of information.

The Social Shades

Society in India is way dynamic and conducive. It represents a considerable dimensionality of relative understandability of cultures, which actually manifests as how beautiful the society may perceive politics as a social, political and religious phenomenon. We know its adverse aspects, which are considerable not irresistible and somehow it becomes important to stress on the way how the capitalism of information is reaching out to an average Indian societal plasma to the political realms being manipulated today. Out of a budding 1.34 billion, roughly 20.11% people[8] are on Facebook, for example, wherein, information, not limited to social media, becomes the capital of using lack of education, corruption, poverty and other geopolitical factors to spread divergent allusions and political factions based on identity[9]. Labelling the events of mob vehemence ‘unfortunate’, Rajnath Singh in the Lok Sabhaenumerated that many of these happenings were generated by unconfirmed fake information (news particularly) vide social media[10], for example, which is a seemed misuse of a capital of data and perception sensitivity that social media has entrusted to people. It is a deemed necessity that legitimacy is not limited to the bipolar isolation of mere true/false relationship and is distributed, acknowledged and then recognized at a moderate, unbiased and open sense. However, a societal provocation via information management and politics, whether via social media or the ground-level lacks of receptive assertion, means a lot to the Indian people wherein, their own self-determination is somehow defeated and nearly dissolved[11]. A strategic case of fake information, for example, pursued of child abduction shows a rampant distortion of social security and trust via WhatsApp and Facebook[12]. Even in August 2018, a vague case of mobilization came into observation, wherein some cake was cut on Bakrid, as a part of some propaganda by certain political organizations, which signifies a due hegemony of perception delicacy being caught up[13]. So, these instances, like the others, signify a social dichotomy that affects the wake of transparency, a trustless system where consonance is a need and perhaps a conjugal resemblance of conflicting vicissitudes, which hereby makes an abominable question – perhaps not against the political agenda and propaganda, but the true crusade of public opinion and receptivity. This further makes chances for a pursuant democratic backsliding.

The Political, Individual and Ethnic Paradigms: Questioned for Questions

Politics is beyond the veil of subjectivities of ideologies in India these days. In addition, it is not a simple league that has a purview in a non-obvious sense. This happens in democracies; wherein democratic backsliding is a phenomenal issue. The same causality is observant in the US, UK (more after the Brexit vote) and various EU27 states. Rights, whether human or legal, are differentially representative, but seriously, this coalescence is not so easy and clear; and not only legal backings are the primary reasons, but the uncertainty of political backend that is now becoming a polarisation of opinion into simpler terminologies, which a diverse nation like India cannot surpass as considering a narrow but rather a mandatory assertion. The problem represents in this way. There are such generic issues also at the ethnic context, which is rather beautiful at a sociological sense but way vulnerable for the pursuance of objectivity. Minority representations are at existential stakes, whether is it of any, but at any cost, the diluting fiasco that the ethnicity issues are being manipulated swiftly is due to some simple factors that we forget: (1) lack of awareness; (2) lack of multicultural consonance and resilience and (3) other factors. Now, awareness is something that has a due issue of reach and accessibility. Information thus becomes a crucial weapon. However, the second factor is certainly not based on any technical aspect of education or awareness. Sometimes, as the history of various polities suggests, India has proved to be that capable to resemble social consonance (beyond a mere backdrop of tolerance[14]), wherein it is quite settled that this representable Overton window is not as it should be. That is how, at a procedural sense, the question of individuality comes into purview, wherein it becomes deemed to consider that India is not a representative of violent perceptions, but information fragility is something that it needed to be engineered. State-sponsored trolling is a static phenomenon, which is only convened to be dynamic when it represents a paradigm of legitimacy so absolutely bemusing and not socialized. Socialization of laws and regulations perhaps can be trustless and considerably better, but identity must be preserved and let as it is.


It is not a surpassing ease nor a casual defeat, when it comes to the paradigms of recognizable patterns of legitimacy being instrumentalized. Yet, it is important to socialize our own paradigms of reality and recognized for a better generic sense of good. It does not pertain so easy to maintain that Indian polity and public thought is too diverse to realize its generalizations and consonant points. It can, and it is a long process. Legitimacy is something, which must be recognized socially dimensional, and when this frontier is attained, there remains a pertinence of hopeful outsets of acceptance and resilience. Maturity of multicultural consonance and resilience is not costly neither free in India due to its geopolitical surprises and resemblances. But, if we estimate towards a generic settlement of social, ethnic, individual and political consciousness, maybe we uphold these settlements at our diversity suited to rebuilt who we really are.

[2]Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr v v Union of India And Ors [2017] Supreme Court of India, 10 SCC(Supreme Court of India);(2017) 10 SCC 1; Abhiram Singh v CD Commachen (Dead) through LRS and Ors [2014] Supreme Court of India, 14 SCC (Supreme Court of India);(2014) 14 SCC 382;

[3] Paul Collier, ‘The Political Economy of Ethnicity’ (Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics, Washington DC, 20-1 April 2016).

[4] Various reports from agencies dedicated to expose the fake news and information of state-sponsored agencies and actors suggest patterns of such developments at a heinous methodology.

[5] ‘Aadhaar dare: Hackers post Trai chief’s personal information’ (The New Indian Express, 29 July 2018) <> accessed 22 August 2018.

[6]Shweta Ganjoo, ‘TRAI chief vs Hackers: RS Sharma says he has not lost Aadhaar challenge’ (India Today, 31 July 2018) <> accessed 23 August 2018.

[7] R.S. Sharma, ‘Why I gave out my Aadhaar number’ (The Indian Express, 1 August 2018) <> accessed 23 August 2018.

[8] ‘Leading countries based on number of Facebook users as of July 2018 (in millions)’ (Statista) <> accessed 23 August 2018.

[9]Pretika Khanna, ‘Death by Social Media’ (livemint, 2 August 2018) <> accessed 23 August 2018.

[10] K. Deepalakshmi, ‘Lynchings caused by rumours spread through social media, says government’ (TheHindu, 19 July 2018) <> accessed 23 August 2018.

[11]Jonathan Beller, ‘The Capital of Information: Fractal Fascism, Informatic Labor and M-I-M’, The Message is Murder (London Press 2018) <> accessed 23 August 2018.

[12]Arjun Siddharth, June round-up: Rampant child abduction rumours result in mob-lynching incidents across country’ (Alt News, 2018) <> accessed 25 August 2018.

[13]Pooja Chaudhari, ANI, News18 misreport RSS-affiliated Muslim org as “people in Lucknow” celebrating Bakrid by cutting cake’ (Alt News, 2018) <> accessed 25 August 2018.

[14]Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘Modernity and Ethnicity in India: A History for the Present’ (1995) 30 Economic and Political Weekly <>;Ramachandra Guha, Makers Of Modern India (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2013); Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward, The God Delusion (Bantam Books 2006).

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