Have you ever wondered how the concept of the Indian reality show Bigg Boss came about to be? The answer is Big Brother, a concept first termed by George Orwell in his masterpiece book titled ‘1984’, where the state has frightening control over its citizens and their lives, watching and listening to everything.

Against all odds, North Korea is pushing hard to turn Orwell’s fiction to reality. Even a small act of going against the state can lead to imprisonment and death for three generations of the offender. There are no trials and suspicion is good enough to get you arrested. All forms of information are controlled by the state which is in a perpetual state of war, driving its own people to hunger and poverty.

The infamous country recently hit the headlines for two reasons: One, it has now banned sarcasm! The dictatorial state cannot even take jokes and now indulging in sarcasm joins the long list of activities that can put you and your entire family behind the bars in Pyongyang.

The other big reason being the nuclear tests it conducted in the recent week and the pace at which the tests have accelerated over the past year, demonstrating their military capabilities. This has raised tensions around the world. For a country, which has absolutely no respect for human rights, does not indulge in discussions with the rest of the world, repeatedly disregards sanctions by the UN and lives in isolation, nuclear weapons pose a huge threat to the world.

China, the only ally to North Korea, is now left in a tricky situation. While they understand the risks of the nukes, they at the same time cannot allow too many sanctions and stifle the regime, allowing US to have more say in Korean matters. Thus, they seem to say one thing and end up doing the opposite.

Kim Jong Un, our Dear Leader must be a mastermind, making such powerful moves, don’t you think? Careful there now! No more sarcasm. After all, Big Brother is watching!

Originally published for the Dainik Bhaskar Group on 22nd Sept, 2016.