North Korea- Strangely Reminiscent of the Horrors of ‘1984’

It is undoubtedly true that India faces a myriad of problems? human trafficking, exploitation of women, poverty, farmer suicides among many others. However, when the state of affairs in our country are compared to those prevalent in North Korea, we can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.

North Korea is a self- described revolutionary and socialist state. It is rather ironic that the quality of life led by the citizens of the ?socialist? one-party republic, evokes fear and pity. Many countries perceive it as no less than the kind of life led by the people of Germany, under the dictatorship of Hitler. In recent times, it has come to become one of the most peculiar and regressive nations of the world.

One of the most disturbing practices followed by North Korea is that of Kaechon Internment Camp. Under this camp, the ?three generations punishment? rule is implemented. Thus, if a person is held to be a part of any activity which propagates hatred against those in power or is ?anti national?, the person, along with all three living generations of his family, is sent to this camp. People are often subjected to immense exploitation in this camp. For instance, prisoners are assigned dangerous acts such as working in coal mines. With no option to quit, prisoners often slog their days and nights in coal mines, for more than 24 hours at a time.Apart from inhumane treatment of prisoners, North Korea does not grant basic rights to its presumably well-intending, or in other words ‘conformist’, citizens either. For instance, the republic does not have any official religion. At the same time, it does not even allow its citizens the right or freedom to practice any religion.

Additionally, not only does sexism go unquestioned, but is rather encouraged. In a report published by The National, it was revealed that about 2000 women had been employed by the government as a part of a ?Pleasure Squad?, whose main duty was to provide sexual benefits to government officials.

These instances, albeit not exhaustive, do manage to paint a picture of the prevalent scenario in North Korea. Evidently, the government has adopted a perverse, apathetic and disrespectful attitude towards its public. Clearly, the government has not made efforts to fulfill its duty towards its public. Perhaps this has been the case because the government’s vision has been tainted with selfish goals of its own? to deceit and to feign, both power and a sense of control.

North Korea boasts of one of the largest armies in the world. According to Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, its army?s strength is of around 1.21 million, making it the fourth largest army in world.

The ruling party, Worker’s Party of Korea, has never shied away from using propaganda to influence citizens of its nation as well as create a false impression for the world outside. A report published by BBC in the year 2015, revealed that Kim Jong-Il had infact kidnapped renowned South Korean director, Shin Sang-Ok, to coerce him to recreate a popular Hollywood movie to suit his propaganda. Even the elections have been reduced to a blatant eyewash. An article published by the New York Times in the year 2014, titled ?North Korea Uses Election to Reshape Parliament?, stated how North Korean elections are merely ?show elections?. Although elections are held every five years, there is only one candidate who contests for them. This leaves the people with no alternative at all.

Stooping to another low to isolate its people form the rest of the world, North Korea does not let all its people operate or have access to the internet; it can only be used by a few people who hold a position of responsibility in the office. The limited websites made available to general public are controlled and managed by the state. This means that any information that reaches the public is not a fair sample, but the filtered information in accord with the interests of the government.

The lives of the people in North Korea are continually deteriorating. The people have become victims of the dominant, and aggressive, ideology of the state? expressing a mere dissent for which can lead to life-threatening repercussions. The people have been reduced from rational individuals to a mere horses, whose reins are tactfully tugged and pulled at by the inhumane government.

This excessive government intervention, coupled with ceaseless efforts to deceive the public and maximise self-gains, forces one to draw parallels between the present-day realities in North Korea and those imagined by George Orwell in the classic novel ‘1984’. It is only a matter of time that voices will be raised against the all-encompassing ‘Big Brother’. One can only hope this time comes soon enough.

-Contributed by Shivanshi, edited by Pragya

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