Sunday, May 16, 2021

Trepidations, of course

Apparently, it is difficult for most Indian politicians, including Nagaland’s politicians, to changes their avatars and modes after winning elections and forming governments. Perhaps it is the changed political culture in the past couple of decades or so, which makes it difficult for politicians to change ~ therefore governance is relegated to secondary, even tertiary positions ~ and citizens pay dearly for it. So noticeably even after politicians win elections and form governments, they are still in the election mode ~ most of their utterances substantiates this. This is particularly noticeable in the past few years in every other Indian state, whichever political party forms the government, whether they have majority or not, but their governance delivery is abysmal ~ so well manifested by appalling development indices, policy-deficit, law and order situations, escalating crimes, violations of constitutional provisions, and generally utter mayhem. In such states, there is also an increase in social and communal tensions that escalate into riots, protests, murders and other crimes and aberrations. This must also have a lot to do with the quality of modern-day Indian politicians ~ most of who have mastered mass psychology but lack the qualifications and qualities to understand the nuances of governance. Today, we have very few politicians, who are well-versed with the concepts of democracy, governance, rule of law and indispensability of integrity in governance and national life ~ probably because smartness has usurped knowledge and wisdom and increasingly smartness and unscrupulousness have become synonymous. So today we have President’ Rule in Jammu & Kashmir because electoral computations and power-grabbing considerations over-ruled all concerns of governance ~ ergo a marriage of convenience was performed with no thought of the consequences to the beleaguered people of that besieged state, where because of policy and governance deficit, precious lives are lost almost every other day. For pretty much the same reasons, assorted ideologically dissimilar and diverse political parties have formed Governments in various Northeastern states in the recent past and these very same ideological dissimilarities and diversities have impeded quality governance ~ all manifesting in numerous societal violence, the likes of which were rarities in the history of this region. And the gravity of the same societal violence is that disparate political parties that have formed Governments here appear to be at sea about how to cope with them ~ because their perceptions and perspectives on issues are at variance. A prime example is the National Register of Citizens Bill (NRC) in Assam, which displays all potentials to turn out to be very much like the state-sponsored forcible separation of parents and children in the US now, which is a matchless example of human rights violations and child abuse. Yes, all kinds of god-men, whether Sadhus or Imams or Reverends, have influence over a vast majority of voters but to induct them into government in various capacities and expect them to deliver quality governance is to ask cows to produce petrol and diesel. In Nagaland, to appoint all kinds of unsuccessful politicians and political party workers to senior ministerial posts and senior levels of the bureaucratic machinery with perks and privileges paid by the state Exchequer is an example of prioritization of politics over governance and cocking the snook at the Constitution and the people. This is a singular example of showing the middle finger to all democratic ethos, traditions and practices. This is a flagrant abuse of power and might. When one exerts might just because one can the vulnerable are victimized and the society and state become easy prey to the tyranny of oppression and repression ~ which across India has become the norm now. Lynching and other forms of mob-fury are by-products of this exertion of might, which is now a culture in the country ~ underscoring the absence and failure of governance. The failures of politicians and political parties to provide quality governance are often attributed to voters but it wouldn’t be erroneous to assert that poverty is planned and induced in large pockets of the country forcing voters to either accept money for votes or face starvation deaths. What is of serious concern is not simply the criminalization of politics but the criminalization of democracy itself ~ the increasing instances of assassinations of rationalists and journalists are also serious pointers to that. Trepidations then are natural corollaries. Unless politicians and political parties in the country search their souls, these trepidations have potentials to take on serious connotations.