Is 2021 the new dystopian society?
Dystopia is imagining a society which is unfortunate and horrifying. A world
where everything is imperfect and everything goes terribly wrong. A dystopian
society is something where life passed under virtual eye of the state.
Dystopian literature is characterized by brutalize negative impact of
government, ecological disaster happening in decline of society. It is
India’s first dystopian series, Leila, set in the 2040s which is based in a
fictional country, when a powerful man, Joshi rules the entire country named as
Aryavarta where country is divided into various religion, caste and minorities. Aryavarta, in ancient Indian myths mentioned as, the place where Indo-Aryans
lived. It predominantly uses folklore to achieve the country in future becomes a
Plot Of The Series
Leila is a story of a mother who is searching for her missing daughter. Shalini
as Huma Qureshi has married her college boyfriend Rizwan as Rahul Khanna and
they have a daughter together named as Leila. The family lives in danger, as
inter-faith marriages are disapproved upon by the committee. The conflict for
water is one of them who was accused for illicit storage of water, for marrying
a Muslim and raising a Mishrit (Impure blood) child. A Secular liberal Elite
couple along the daughter Leila was attacked by Some-Saffron gangsters who
assassinate Shalini’s husband. Shalini was arrested and sent to Reprimand’s
House. She anyhow explores the hideous world with a start, searching for her
In the starting two episodes, Shalini struggles to make the honest belief,
however it is shown that she endures frequently in silence with the sporadic
emotional lability. Flashbacks in between the distressed episodes, gives us a
sense of how far she has come from being rich, arrogant and unaware to the
everyday opprobrium suffered by her own housemaid. The series escalate at
pitch in the third episode, where the character Shalini is shown walking a
tightrope, stabilize her regret with boldness to track and seek out her
Leila is set in fictional society, Aryavarta, where purity is a constitution and
the aphorism is peace from separation of syncretic religion. Cities are divided
into regions with skyscraper walls. Each region has one society and they are
free to follow their religion. Slum dwellers are beyond the ramparts where there
is dirty water and unhygienic circumstances. Aryavarta's ultimate citizen is an
individual who can sacrifice everything for the welfare of society. A nation
where there is lot of grief, severe and totalitarian behavioral rules and
fascination with morality and society.
The nation is divided into regions based on castes like dwikarmi, panchkarmi are
a terrifying souvenir of how religious belief might actually alienate us in the
dreadful way. In Leila's modern world even essential things like water and air
shall be relished by particular castes. A vendor suppressing Mahatma Gandhi's
picture in the presence of a government agent. The country evolved modern
technologies though. Children in school reciting 'Aryavarta is my mother' and
hybrid children being abducted from their family. It allows us the reflection
that the difficulties of the modern life may turn into trouble if you don’t
tackle well (Uniyal, 2019).
They do talk about doosh – a group of individuals living wretchedly and
poverty, rejected by the state, who has commenced mutiny but doesn’t submerged
behind the mechanics of Aryavarta itself. This merely wouldn’t have been
possible in a society regulated by sectorial borders and repeaters’ vigil,
hawk-like presence. The series, disrupt certain critical rules of the novel
instead of easy melodramatic range.
Further there are dialogues that influence people with forced and disgust
reality. Shudhi pariksha kyun? Kyunki pariksha humein shudh karti hai
there a purification exam? Because the exam purifies us (Thakur,
2019). Leila has also shown children are praising Aryavarta. They are being
brainwashed. Brainwashing children are used to gain votes in the future together
in real life. In this series, children are taught to not ask any questions and
oblige their government in any situations. They are not supposed to ask any
questions, they only do those things what their chief say. It also mentions that
whoever reads banned books on politics and government and asks questions to them
can be imprisoned or lynched by the government.
Just like Safoora Zargar, a student activist from Jamia Millia Islamia
University who was arrested for the alleged involvement in CAA protests. She was
charged in non-bailable offence. In India, students from Jawaharlal Nehru
University, Delhi University, who raised their voice against the government,
they are considered as anti-nationals.
Project Bali Operation is scripted in Leila. Similarly, Beti Uthao Operation
was scripted by Neha Dixit, where Sangh Parivar trafficked tribal 31 girls from
Assam to Gujarat to launch them into Hindu religion (Das, 2019).
The series designed elements into caste and religion. Religious and spiritual
fundamentalists have overtaken. There is constant state control, global warming
and scarcity of water, the class separation has taken on dimensions, and women
are degenerated and compelled to work, all for ambitious goal and to prove their
purity and dedication to the nation. It is a story of a woman searching for her
lost daughter. The series address excessive themes – surveillance,
hyper-organization, social hierarchies, totalitarianism, contamination, a water
supply shortage without examining any one thought with depth.
Here the series is often impelled by appropriate literary work, indicate Shalini
seemly allies, at various points in her search, just to take the edges off for a
totalitarian government. When she got into some trouble, she drops something-
either fishbowl or a tea to divert her alienation, securing critical
information (Thakur, 2019).
Shalini’s character experiences psychological fragmentation and fading
carnality. She gets weak and gloomy as the series progresses. It is the journey
of a women, seeking for her daughter Leila, but also in seeking of identity.
That said, the series has emphasized the distressed voice of secular psyche.
Shalini’s psychological state is mostly represented by unnatural talks with her
dead husband (Rizwan). This series shows orthodoxy and dictatorship.
Shalini was forced into the Aryavarta sect system. She was forced to take pills
that may probably affect her mental state, whereas she’s forced to sustain
religious inculcation (Arora, 2019). The town, which looks like a Delhi, also
appeared as pollution abatement forcing the ordinary people to wear mask that
are more in these areas which contains toxic substances.
The proselytize of children as shown in one episode, the humiliating treatment
across social and economic category, or demonstrate the dynamics of power that
strikes profound at inherent discrimination in India (Arora, 2019). The modern
world highlights gated communities, staggering inequality, roads with grime,
scarcity of water, air-pollution, and tons of trash dumps burst into flames
frequently. In the whole world on the brim of environmental disaster - a main
theme that might unfortunately be drained out by the show’s political
It depicts in the series that how upper-class rich people lives in the city of
advancement and lower-class people lives in the slums beyond the walls. This
segregation can be seen in various cities like Mumbai where segregation can be
seen between slums and posh-societies which co-exists side by side.
In the series Leila, Joshi gives the enterprise of Skydome to Dixit to manage
with air pollution. Dixit was an engineer who came to Aryavarta from America for
his country. In India, RBI governors like Arvind Subramanyam, Raghuram Rajan
quit their occupation in protest with the government policies.
The Water Shortage Shown In Series
The people of Aryavarta are isolated and sheltered based on socio-economic
state, religion, caste and, most importantly, accessibility to water. The
Privileged have access to clean, drinkable water from ATM-like machines.
However, the ones sheltered to the slums have to quench their thirst with a
thick, blackish water that resembles tar. Even the irregular rainfall rarely
provides any relief. People run to find safe shelter to rescue themselves from
the acidic rainwater.
India is currently facing the biggest crisis in its history. More than 50% of
the population has no access to safe drinking water and about 200,000 people die
every year for lack of access to safe water. Over 75% of households do not have
clean drinking water, whereas 40% of the population will have no access to
drinking water by 2030 (Hota, 2020).
The Degradation Of Women (Oppressed Gender)
While Leila is absolutely political, the most dominant theme in it is capturing
the humiliation of women. After being kidnapped from her own home, Shalini is
imprisoned in a Reprimand’s house for secular women. The female prisoners
whose babies are taken away or aborted, are required to redeem for their sins —
getting married to someone outside of their caste or religion.
In one scene, these women are forced to roll over half-eaten meal, and were
demanded to wipe the floors. While another scene represents, woman is punished
to be married to a dog. These disturbances are not a product of creative
imagination. The inhumane ritual of Dalits rolling over Brahmin’s leftover food
was just recently prohibited. Apparently, it increases the rate of violence
against women and girl’s despite of recent and former government’s additional
charge on advertising its successed imaginary norms.
This type of casteist rituals exists in real life too. In Karnataka, lower class
people roll over Brahmin’s leftover food. Devotees believe that this practice
can cure and protect them from skin disease. And also, girls in India are made
to marry a dog. Just like, an 18-year-old girl was married off to a stray dog in
order to ward off evil. Apparently, in Jharkhand a community married off a
teenager name Mangli Munda to a dog, since she was believed to bring bad luck to
the community (Prakashan, 2014).
Apocalpse On Social World Happening In Covid-19
It took more than a year to see the current situation of barbarity, disaster,
disease awaiting, lack of authorities. The rising insanity in people. 2020 has
been a tough year, as a consequence of obnoxious of some new dilemma. We have
been choked ourselves back and forth between buoyancy and pain. We have been
quarantined for over a month, watching the world in television. We have been
trying to control our fear. Last year commence with devastating fires in
Australia. Then the pandemic began. Later the dilemma begins.
economy overlapped. At that time, the west coast of the United States was on
fire, cloud of smoke into the ocean while some of the strongest tornadoes in
history were occurred. Technologies are unequally distributed. People with money
can get away into virtual paradises now. They can stay online and have
provisions delivered right to their doorstep, without interacting with another
person. Technology isn’t used to advance civilization. It is used to break
people’s isolation and destroy their freedoms, in swapping for wild
entertainment. With the rising use of technologies, the necessity for a human
labor force decreases, abandoning them with a large amount of depression.
The Dystopian Protagonist
The pandemic forced us to face the fact, the ‘natural’ world was abnormal,
somewhat dystopias have been telling us from the very beginning.
In today’s dystopian fiction consider increasing anxiety about the
discrimination, global warming, power of the state and global pandemics.
Usually, dystopian works as rebellion, tyranny, revolution, warfare,
over-population, and disasters. It is also serving as warnings about the current
situation of a government, or of those in power. In dystopic writings, authors
point out the misbehaviors in a society. Citizens lived in dehumanized state.
They often feel trapped and are struggling to escape. Louis Lowry’s The Giver
stated that, A society has eliminated pain in return for Sameness
, but in so
doing has also eliminated emotion, color and personal individuality.
The symbolism in the Leila is sufficient to conclude it's significantly a
Hindu Rashtra. The geographical area of the country is not revealed, but it's
definitely not as big as India of today. Water is scarce and too tall to climb
the walls segregate the rich and the poor. Those living in slums are called
Doosh reasonable to say that they are the lower caste. The rich and the greedy
are upper caste Hindus. The series depicts the harm done on secular minds. You
can’t deny the truth it shows in the series, the truth of our country which
included our future and our present.
Leila is not Anti-Hindu. Hinduism teaches us benevolence, forgiveness and
togetherness. It is the toxic Hindutva that spreads antagonism and Leila has
also flagged that point. Segregation, rivalry, brutality are the real opponents
of any nation. Leila is all about emphasizing the present evilness of our
society which may conduct a dark future.
The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the
truth at all
Award Winning Article Is Written By:
- Arora, A. (2019, June). Leila Review: Netflix’s Indian Series Does What
Dystopian Fiction Should. Retrieved from
- Das, T. (2019, August). Leila: A ‘possible’ dystopia. Retrieved from
- Hota, M. R. (2020, September). India’s water crisis: Is there a
solution? Retrieved from
- Prakashan, P. (2014, September). 18-year-old girl marries a stray dog in
Jharkhand! (Watch marriage ceremony). Retrieved from
- Thakur, T. (2019, June). Netflix's 'Leila' Is a Dystopian Drama About
Disappearances and Regret. Retrieved from
- Uniyal, P. (2019, June). Leila review: Netflix dystopian drama is
gritty, powerful and brave. Retrieved from https://www.indiatoday.in/television/web-series/story/leila-review-netflix-dystopian-drama-is-gritty-powerful-and-brave-1549911-2019-06-16.
- Ms.Dalima Poojari from National Forensic Sciences University,
Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India and
- Krupa Nisha from National Forensic Sciences University,
Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
Authentication No: AP111517888752-25-0421