Alphas And Omegas

A Dystopic Utopia

Anup Sinha

A new country is celebrating its silver jubilee of independence. The year on the digital calendar shows 2045. The actual date for the rest of the world is 2040. The supreme leader has set the clock ahead by five years so as to be ahead of other countries. It is a great country where there is one supreme leader, one party, one religion, one language, and one kind of food and above all, no complication of the rule of law. There are two types of people. One set, a tiny minority, called the alphas, lives in great opulence. The world’s latest robots are at their service. Their mansions are powered with green energy and their electric cars need no drivers. There are just a few full-fledged schools and universities in which the children of these families go. They become programmers, politicians, professors and policemen.

Technologically smart cities are set aside for the alphas that have separate identity cards. The other type, called omegas,is not entitled to come into direct contact with them. The only exception is in the case of the armed forces where the omegas are the foot soldiers and the alphas are the commissioned officers. The alphas mingle amongst themselves and often roam the world on vacations and business trips. The alphas can migrate from one smart city to another along with their robots. Their status is determined by the number of robots they own.

The omegas are not productive and have no contribution to make in economic activities. They are unemployable in the world of artificial intelligence and robotics. Hence, they do not need any education. They have schools that keep them for four years in which they learn to write their names, read the alphabet, and add and subtract. These people, the majority, are given a minimum income that helps them have two meals a day, a small house with a toilet to live in, and a gas cylinder and stove to cook. The houses are otherwise very energy efficient since they do not have electricity at all. These people, at the time of their birth, are given a series of inoculations to prevent them catching a number of common contagious diseases. They also have a small procedure in the hospital for a frontal lobotomy which makes generally very compliant and obedient citizens. The omega villages are actually contained in gated centres. They can seldom move out and migrate to another gated community. Their living is monitored and they are asked to compulsorily perform daily religious rituals.

At birth each omega receives a smart hand-held device which performs a variety of functions, plays games and provides infotainment. They participate in sports too. The new nation has a popular game called lynchocomp. Here, sometimes criminals (or anti-nationals as they are legally referred to) are allowed to be beaten to death by the omegas. There are two teams that play and the one that can fell more people in a given period of time is declared the winner. This is to ensure that, despite the frontal lobotomy, if some people tend to get a bit violent (and it is said they do sometimes), the lynchocomp is a good outlet for the release of hysterical anger. After the game is over, a sound track that soothes them is played over public address systems that praise the omegas for performing a great social duty in eliminating anti-nationals.

Sometimes from within the alphas as well as the omegas, a few disobedient people emerge. They are not ordinary criminals who steal or rape or murder. They are even more dangerous. They question the authority of the alphas and the rule of the single leader. There are no established rules as such, since they can be altered very quickly and at the whim of the supreme leader. However, they have to be contained for the stability of the country. They are usually identified easily through a computer algorithm that picks up their mental thoughts and beliefs with the help of bio-sensors implanted in their bodies. There are other sophisticated spywares too that can be used to listen in to conversations and comments made on hand held devices. They are quickly quarantined in detention centres that are available all across the country. The detention centres are not accessible to outsiders and no one really knows what goes on inside. The rumour is that when it becomes too crowded, a few of the anti-nationals are taken to a game of lynchocomp. This way the actual detainees are kept at a low enough number to ensure that human rights are not violated through overcrowding.

Food is in short supply and fresh water has almost disappeared from the land. There is no shortage for the alphas because they control the resources as well as have the wherewithal to import various necessities. For the omegas, food and water are rationed. However, people do not mind suffering these inadequacies since they have been convinced that the reason for the shortage is the behaviour of the anti-nationals and the animosity of neighbouring countries. Hence this is a sacrifice omegas are proud to make for the nation. They are also told that sometimes the alphas too are forced to go on very restricted diets, for instance when they are diagnosed with diabetes, or after having a heart attack.

Apart from lynchocomp there are other forms of entertainment for the omegas. The television channels provide continuous round the clock entertainment with stories about scriptures as well as about how the good-guys get the better of the anti-nationals. News channels show a great deal of diversity. There are a few that specialize in exposing the anti-nationals. There are others that specialize in creating attractive stories out of news. Cruelty and violence are shown with such tender loving care that viewing these shows becomes addictive.

All religious structures not belonging to the official religion, and all structures and architectural monuments from the historical past have been demolished since they are reminiscent of centuries of subjugation. New religious structures have been built with great care on these plots of land. To avoid overcrowding in living spaces and creating stress on available resources, the government had decided to withdraw health care facilities for all people of the omega class that did not belong to the official religion. As a result development did occur in terms of a rising per capita income with a lower population. Also health care is controlled and regulated so that the death rate of the omegas does not fall perceptibly. Population is kept relatively within control. Marriages between omegas and alphas are prohibited by law. The marriage of omegas within the community of omegas is also controlled by the state. This is required to ensure that gene pools are segregated and kept as pure in strain as possible.

Once upon a time there was a large building where politicians used to gather and discuss matters concerning the nation. That has been done away with since debate was no longer necessary (and nobody wanted to anyway) given the exceptional visionary leadership of the supreme leader. The building has now been converted into a tourist attraction serving as a museum exhibiting the rise of the new nation with large portraits of the new nationalist leaders.

Libraries and books are generally screened for content and the types of books kept for readers have to be approved by the supreme leader. The curriculum for schools and colleges are also strictly controlled for checking minds being polluted by too many unorthodox ideas and questions. Universities propagate ideas of the supreme leader – stories of the glorious and distant past lost in a messy present. The mess must be cleared to lead the nation to an even more glorious future. The word ‘intellectual’ to describe a person is considered to be anathema. Refugees are not allowed. Feminists, trade unionists and any minority organizations are banned from functioning. They are all clubbed under the umbrella of anti-nationals. The chief aim of the politics of the nation is to keep the targeted audience of sympathetic omegas and alphas in an illusory grip. Those not included in the audience wait in the detention centres and are labelled as terrorists or murderers. The powerful Ministry of Propaganda, Ministry of Conspiracies and the Ministry of Nationalism control the detention camps with an iron hand. Killing is in principle, accepted as a method of cleansing the nation of unwanted polluting elements.

Indeed, in the moment of celebrating 25 years of independence, the nation is at a new high. The alphas have been identified and ranked as some of the richest people of the world. The omegas, on the other hand, are happy and content. Since the omegas cannot read or write very well,they usually answer yes to anything asked, especially questions that seem complicated. Easy answers are the best strategy. To a survey question asked ‘are you happy?’ the answer was 100 per cent yes. The country has done well. It is one of the richest and happiest nations of the world.

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Vol. 54, No. 14-17, Oct 3 - 30, 2021