Divisive politics-II


As stated earlier, it is a pity that those vowing to root out corruption from the system, and getting votes for ‘exposing’ it, are the ones who are now keenly looking for more and more such skeletons tumbling out of the adversary’s closet so as to draw maximum political capital out of them. The unmistakably ecstatic mood in the ruling party on former home minister P Chidambaran’s son being involved in a case of graft and an earlier report of the son in law of the Punjab CM having been involved – albeit in a comparatively minor bank fraud – is a case in point. The fact that the so called campaign by political parties against such things as corruption is motivated less by the concern of corruption gnawing at the very roots of a just and equitable society and more by the realisation that the campaign against venality in public life is seen by the public as a people friendly policy, never mind the raucous denunciation of it as mere lip service for public consumption by these opportunistic, thoroughly unprincipled political parties. The slew of financial scams that had come to light in the run up to the 2014 elections had come as a windfall to the other party which had milked these developments to the hilt, as we saw it, and which would wish and pray for many more such scams come to light in the weeks and months ahead so as to use them as an election plank in the 2019 elections. By way of a little digression that would help put the issue under discussion into perspective, we need to pose the following question. How would one make a choice between those who may be corrupt and dishonest on the one hand and those who may appear to be ‘clean and honest’ on the other, but who would have no qualms about feting themselves on violence being committed upon fellow human beings in return for the potential of these tactics to promise unbridled pelf and power? The choice is clearly between the devil and the deep sea. What is extremely worrying is the realisation that while making no allowance, and rightly so, for those who have looted and lived off public wealth, a significantly large section of educated Indians have quietly accepted the recourse to divisive politics – and the attendant violence being unleashed upon certain sections of the society – by certain political parties as a perfectly legitimate and normal practice. As if that is not disconcerting enough, it is worth sparing a thought for the kind of issues that have come to inform the debate between political parties in the largest democracy of the world. These issues now pertain no more to genuine development, education, economy or well being of the people of the country that would entail a will to address, among other things, grievances of the marginalised sections of the society. On the contrary, the level of discourse has been reduced to milking the opponent for the latter’s off the cuff remarks involving otherwise innocuous jibes like ‘chai wala, pakoda wala’ etc. Paradoxically and sadly, it is these latter (non)-issues, and not those involving the growth, progress and development of the country that are going to figure prominently amongst the main election planks of political parties in the run up to the elections down the line. So much for the level of politics that the principal political party at the helm of affairs has helped the system to stoop to. Alongside the triviality of issues as enunciated above which has been allowed to occupy centre stage both in print and electronic media and elsewhere, we have this new phenomenon of hyper-nationalism being defined, advocated and forced down our throat by this gang of new age ‘patriots’. The point is that as long as ‘coercive nationalism’ being promoted and forced by them is allowed to take precedence over human rights and as long as the police, the army and the judiciary are treated as holy cows in this land where one is denied the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech and to question the authority, the common man shall continue to be on the receiving end of gratuitous violence, denial of fundamental rights and gross injustice that is not in keeping with a democratic polity.