“War is peace. Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.”

–George Orwell

 

Orwell, though controversial among historians over his political position, prophetically painted an image of present day states in his novel.

George Orwell published his widely acclaimed novel, 1984, in the year 1949. It is dystopian novella revolving around the life of Winston Smith. The omnipresent eyes of the party and the Big Brother –who controls every aspect of people’s lives– frustrate Smith, a low ranking member of ‘the Party’ and the protagonist of the novella.

At the height of cold war, the novel was considered a vicious satire on the communist regimes, especially against the Soviet Union.  Big Brother was and remains a metaphor for an authoritarian state. The significance of the novel lies in the fact that even today when the world is by and large under the spell of globalisation and triumph of capitalism, states are virtually operating in the manner as Orwell had shown in the novella. The novel effectively explores the themes of mass media control and propaganda –themes dealt with in great detail by Noam Chomsky and late Edward Herman, debunking the myth that American media are the freest in the world. Post 9/11 citizens’ live across the globe, and their right to privacy lies in tatters because of the growing surveillance by the state.

Often seen as a critique of communist regimes, the novel depicts the nature of any state’s intrinsic characteristic: intolerance to accept alternate versions of history, the plurality of thoughts and arguments, thus turning any society into a fascist one.