The Origin and Evolution of Wokeism: Unveiling its Theoretical Foundations and Implications for Bharat

  • In recent years, the term ‘woke’ has emerged as a prominent buzzword, encapsulating an ideology that seeks to challenge societal norms and advocate for social and political awareness.
  • The prominence of identity politics within wokeism could potentially fragment societies by prioritizing specific identity attributes over shared unity, creating an environment that suppresses dissenting viewpoints, and potentially undermining open dialogue.
  • While Bharat values freedom of expression, the woke culture’s stance on political correctness and sensitivity might raise concerns about stifling open dialogue and constraining freedom of speech.
  • Thoughtful discussions that balance the pursuit of social justice with the preservation of cultural heritage are crucial to shaping Bharat’s response to these ideological forces.


In recent years, the term “woke” has emerged as a prominent buzzword, encapsulating an ideology that seeks to challenge societal norms and advocate for social and political awareness. The concept of wokeism, while rooted in aspirations for social justice, has stirred debates globally, including in countries like Bharat, where its potential implications are complex and multifaceted. In this article, we delve into the origin of wokeism, its theoretical inspirations, its connection to cultural Marxism, and the potential challenges it poses to a diverse country like Bharat.

The Emergence of Wokeism

The term “woke,” originating from African American Vernacular English, initially denoted heightened awareness of racial and social injustices. Over time, its meaning expanded beyond personal awareness to encompass broader societal consciousness. This evolution led to the emergence of wokeism as an ideology advocating for the recognition and dismantling of traditional structures that perpetuate inequality and oppression. Wokeism’s inclusive lens focuses on various forms of discrimination and promotes proactive engagement in dismantling oppressive systems, reflecting society’s growing commitment to social justice.

The other aspects of “wokeness” encompass potential excesses and ideological rigidity, where concerns over political correctness can lead to an atmosphere of hypersensitivity and self-censorship. This, in turn, may foster a culture of intolerance towards differing viewpoints, stifling open dialogue and promoting a form of “cancel culture” that discourages dissent. Moreover, the emphasis on identity-based discussions can oversimplify complex societal issues, promote division, and hinder the pursuit of comprehensive solutions. Critics also contend that the movement’s focus on language and symbolism can overshadow practical actions needed for substantive change and can lead to a lack of diversity in thought and expression due to an echo chamber effect.

The Theoretical Underpinnings of Wokeism

Wokeism, as an ideology advocating for societal change, draws upon a range of theoretical frameworks to inform its perspectives on inequality, power, and justice. These foundational theories provide the intellectual scaffolding for wokeism’s analysis and call to action.


Postmodernism’s scepticism toward absolute truths and its emphasis on individual perspectives deeply influence wokeism. In practice, this scepticism translates into an interrogation of established narratives and norms that uphold power structures. For example, wokeism critiques the prevailing historical narrative that may marginalize the experiences of oppressed groups. It underscores the importance of recognizing multiple interpretations and lived experiences.

Critical Race Theory

Wokeism’s resonance with critical race theory is evident in its focus on racial disparities and historical injustices. Critical race theory emphasizes how race intersects with power dynamics, shaping societal structures. For instance, wokeism’s discussions about systemic racism in policing or access to education reflect critical race theory’s lens of analysing how racial hierarchies influence institutions.


Intersectionality, a core aspect of wokeism, acknowledges the complex interplay of identities and forms of oppression. An example can be found in the feminist movement within wokeism, which considers not just gender but also race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background when addressing women’s issues. This approach ensures a more comprehensive understanding of various layers of discrimination.

Queer Theory

Wokeism’s alignment with queer theory manifests in its advocacy for diverse gender and sexual identities. Wokeism challenges traditional norms by embracing LGBTQ+ rights and representation. For instance, campaigns for gender-neutral bathrooms or the inclusion of queer narratives in educational curricula align with the principles of queer theory.


“Wokeness” incorporates certain elements from Marxism in its ideological framework. Both ideologies share a commitment to analysing society through a structural lens, highlighting power dynamics and inequalities. While Marxism focuses on class struggle and economic disparity, “wokeness” directs attention to issues of identity, race, gender, and other markers. Concepts like intersectionality, which acknowledges the interconnectedness of various forms of oppression, bridge both ideologies.

Connection to Cultural Marxism

The wokeism often draws parallels between the ideology and cultural Marxism, a term denoting attempts to challenge traditional values and institutions through cultural means. Traditional Marxism focuses on economic class struggle, whereas wokeism emphasizes identity groups and challenges existing norms. This shared emphasis on transformation and deconstruction raises concerns that wokeism’s focus on societal critique might erode cultural traditions, values, and even national identity. Critics worry that the prominence of identity politics within wokeism could potentially fragment societies by prioritizing specific identity attributes over shared unity, and they caution against an environment that suppresses dissenting viewpoints, potentially undermining open dialogue.

Wokeism and Islam

These two ideologies oppose the concepts of reasoning, science, freedom, and tolerance. The wokes and the Islamists view a few critical statements as blasphemous. Democracy is not a belief in Islam or Wokes. Islam clearly distinguishes between Dar-al Harb (the area of war) and Dar-al Islam (the territory of Islam). There are probably not many instances of democracy in Islamic history. Additionally, educated individuals reject democracy. If you are not with us, we are against you, is their sole tenet. A democratic debate is therefore inappropriate in Wokeism. If you say anything contrary to the ideas of woke people, you are fired. The idea of a nation-state is rejected by both ideologies.

The general population shouldn’t be the main determiner of political outcomes, according to both Islamists and the woke. They instead hold an elitist view of sovereignty. Islamists envision a society governed by God and the Sharia (Islamic law). This idea of sovereignty is not considered by the general public. A technocratic elite, the woke elite’s secular equivalent of a priesthood, is best suited to make the important decisions.

The connection between Islam and Wokeism runs deep. Islam’s holy book, the Quran, allows Muslims to use violence against infidels, non-believers, and kafirs. There are so many verses in the Quran that call for violence. These verses are in the public domain, yet the members of the religion of peace never said anything about them. The global jihad attacks, the riots, the loot, and the rapes are the real implementation of Islam’s teachings. The goal of Wokeism is to impose their rule through a violent revolution. The Woke people supported the violence and the looting that spread all over the United States after the assassination of George Floyd. Woke people support paedophiles. They support sexual violence against children.

Woke Capitalism

One of the notable developments in recent years is the emergence of woke capitalism, where corporations align themselves with social justice causes to enhance their brand image and profitability. This trend has been fuelled by the increasing demand from consumers for socially responsible products and services. Corporations are recognizing that by adopting socially conscious practices, they can attract a larger customer base and appeal to younger demographics that prioritize ethical considerations.

Companies often align themselves with “woke” activism because they perceive that cultural shifts can create opportunities for increased consumerism and profit. This strategy, commonly referred to as “woke capitalism,” reflects how businesses adapt to evolving cultural norms and values to cater to socially conscious consumers, by associating their brand with social justice causes and advocating for Wokesim, companies aim to tap into the growing market of consumers who prioritize products and services that align with their values.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives have become a central aspect of woke capitalism. ESG criteria evaluate a company’s performance based on its environmental impact, social responsibility, and governance practices. Companies that do not embrace ESG principles and certain social justice narratives could face backlash, including negative media attention, calls for divestment by certain investors and boycotts of the products.

The integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies by companies worldwide has led to visible support for various social movements, often associated with the “woke” ideology. Brands like Tata Tea, Starbucks, Apple, Gillette, and numerous others have embraced these ideologies in their initiatives, promoting woke culture.

For instance, Tata Tea’s campaigns in India, Starbucks’ advocacy for transgender rights, Apple’s support for LGBTQ+ initiatives, and Gillette’s addressing of toxic masculinity reflect their alignment with the principles of woke” ideology and inclusivity—key components of the broader ‘woke’ ethos.

Moreover, the influence of ESG policies isn’t confined to corporate strategies alone. Prestigious institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) incorporating courses on ESG within their academic curriculum further exemplify the growing influence of woke on academics. The integration of ESG policies beyond corporate strategies into academic institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) provides a comprehensive idea of how the influence of “woke” culture extends into educational curricula. This integration into academia further emphasizes the growing impact and acknowledgement of ‘woke’ culture across various spheres.

Woke Terminology

Woke: Being socially aware and conscious of social justice issues, particularly related to racial and systemic inequalities.

Equity: Focusing on ensuring fair and just outcomes for all individuals, especially by addressing historical disadvantages.

Diversity: Embracing and valuing differences in race, gender, sexuality, etc., and promoting inclusivity.

Inclusion: Creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and involved, regardless of their differences.

Neoliberal: Often used critically to describe economic policies that prioritize free markets and limited government intervention, which can be seen as exacerbating inequalities.

Relativism: Recognizing that perspectives and truths can be relative, and not absolute or universally applicable.

Cultural Relativism: Understanding and evaluating cultural practices in the context of their own culture, rather than imposing external judgments.

Discourse: Conversations and discussions within a particular context, often related to power dynamics and social issues.

Minoritize: The process of placing a group in a position of disadvantage or marginalization.

Unhouse: Describing the condition of lacking stable housing or being homeless.

Far Right: Refers to extreme right-wing political ideologies that often include nationalism, authoritarianism, and anti-immigrant stances.

White Fragility: A concept that describes the discomfort and defensiveness that some white people exhibit when confronted with issues of race and privilege.

Lived Experience: Personal experiences and perspectives that are used to gain insight into social issues.

Internalize: The process of accepting and incorporating external messages or beliefs into one’s own identity.

Unsafe: Refers to an environment or situation where individuals feel physically or emotionally at risk.

Cultural Appropriation: Adopting elements of one culture by members of another culture, often without understanding or respecting the cultural significance.

Privilege: Unearned advantages and benefits that certain groups have due to their social identities.

Toxic Masculinity: Cultural norms that promote harmful behaviours and attitudes associated with traditional notions of masculinity.

Rape Culture: A society where sexual violence is normalized or trivialized through media, language, and social attitudes.

CISGender: Identifying with the same gender assigned at birth.

Birthing Person: A term used to be more inclusive of transgender and non-binary individuals who give birth.

Nazi: A term often used to describe extreme right-wing ideologies, particularly those related to fascism and racism.

Implications for Bharat

The influence of woke culture on Bharat is a dynamic interplay between global ideologies and the nation’s unique cultural, social, and political landscape. Navigating this intersection involves respectful dialogue, critical analysis, and thoughtful consideration of how these concepts align with the nation’s values, aspirations, and challenges.

Cultural Values and Traditions: Bharat has a rich history and diverse cultural heritage, with family and community playing pivotal roles. Woke culture’s emphasis on challenging norms might clash with traditional values, potentially leading to debates about the preservation of cultural identity and practices.

Freedom of Expression: While Bharat values freedom of expression, the woke culture’s stance on political correctness and sensitivity might raise concerns about stifling open dialogue and constraining freedom of speech. The balance between promoting inclusivity and ensuring a robust exchange of ideas can be challenging.

Social Diversity: Bharat is characterized by its religious, linguistic, and ethnic diversity. Woke culture’s focus on identity politics might oversimplify or even ignore the complexities of these diverse backgrounds, leading to potential tensions and misrepresentations.

Democratic Principles: Bharat’s democratic framework encourages a diversity of opinions. However, the perceived imposition of woke ideology could raise concerns about eroding this diversity and potentially marginalizing voices that don’t align with the woke narrative.

Family Structure: The family is a fundamental unit of Bhartiya society. Woke culture’s revaluation of traditional gender roles and family dynamics might challenge the existing family structure, leading to debates about the balance between change and cultural continuity.

Economic and Social Challenges: Bharat faces numerous economic and social challenges, while woke culture advocates for addressing such issues, critics might argue that its emphasis on identity politics could divert focus from concrete solutions.

Political and Media Landscape: Woke culture’s influence on politics and media might shape narratives and discussions in Bharat. Concerns might arise about whether this influence genuinely represents the nation’s diverse opinions and perspectives.

Global Context: Woke culture has evolved within Western contexts and might not fully resonate with the nuances of Bhartiya society. The transplantation of concepts without adaptation could lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations.


Understanding the evolution of wokeism and its parallels to cultural Marxism provides insights into its potential impact on Bharat. As this diverse nation navigates the global discourse, it must consider its cultural and historical complexities. Thoughtful discussions that balance the pursuit of social justice with the preservation of cultural heritage are crucial to shaping Bharat’s response to these ideological forces. Through open dialogue, Bharat can forge a path that respects its pluralism.

(Dr. Niranjan B Poojar is a Faculty of Management in Gadag, Karnataka. Views expressed are the author’s own)


  • “The Woke Deception: How Social Justice Ideology Betrays Freedom”; Author: Jonathan Haidt
  • “The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, the Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies”; Author: Robert Boyers
  • “Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody”; Authors: Helen Pluckrose and James A. Lindsay
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2 thoughts on “The Origin and Evolution of Wokeism: Unveiling its Theoretical Foundations and Implications for Bharat”
  1. This is one of the best articles I have read on the evolution of Woke epidemic. The structured explanation with definitions provided by Dr Niranjan Poojar helps the reader understand the issue better. The government of India and the people have a responsibility of ensuring that the disease doesn’t spread further in the country.

  2. Today’s younger generation is susceptible to becoming woke. Many of my friends who are in their 20s are already using the woke terminologies without understanding their meaning. It is very concerning. This article really helps anyone understand the dangers of the woke disease spreading in our country. I hope everyone reads it.

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