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Mr. Waqas Nawaz, Research Assistant at BIPP, as on-going knowledge sharing and learning effort, made a presentation on the evolving global political landscape and the potential challenges posed to the democratic tradition.

Mr. Waqas Nawaz, Research Assistant at BIPP, as on-going knowledge sharing and learning effort, made a presentation on the evolving global political landscape and the potential challenges posed to the democratic tradition. His topic was: '1984 And the Global Trends of Freedom and Liberty' inspired by the theoretical premise of 'unfreedom' depicted by George Orwell's is fictional classic Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel. Descripti111on DescriptiNineteen Eigh The novel portrays a society which considers imagination as reality and cherishes unconsciousness. This regime promotes slavery in the name of freedom, prefers war over peace and gives supremacy to ignorance over reason. The system thrives by denying people’s liberty of intellect, thought and expression and engineers their lives with the "truths" propagated by the government. Waqas extrapolated these features to apply to the real-life contemporary rise of totalitarian, undemocratic majoritarianism and fascist regimes. Using data from the Global Freedom Report 2019 by the Freedom House, he showed how today out of 7.6 billion people, 37% are not free while 24% are partially free. Out of 195 countries, 30% are partially free while 26% remain unfree. He averred that the utopian world of Orwel is indeed a widespread reality as freedom, liberty and fundamental human rights are being violated with the rise of populist, majoritarian and authoritarian regimes. The presentation ended with a question and answer session. The speaker and audience exchanged ideas. The following observations were made by the audience: (i) The dystopia of Orwell's imagination has penetrated the liberal democratic system in the twenty-first century. The rise of majoritarianism within democracies is posing a threat to basic human freedoms around the world e.g. Make America Great Again, Brexit, Bolsonaro's Brazil, Hindutva ideology of India, etc. (ii) It is increasingly becoming hard to discover, know and sift through to the "truth", for, the spate of partisan indoctrination and hype through media including social tends to swath and overshadow the real truth - falsity and fabrication on a large scale generally grips the minds and attitudes of the people. Aristotle's observation dating back to Ancient Greece, 'ignorance is bliss' is assuming greater relevance. (iii) Throughout history, the desire for hegemonic control over power and resources has always found ways to corrupt systems of governance and rule posing a grave threat to human civilization's right to freedom and liberty.

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