Politics in India is all pervasive. One just can’t insulate oneself from the melee.
One reads much about the political parties, their parties (!), the policies, the fanfare in the name of ‘meetings’, the idiosyncrasies of the leaders who claim to represent the masses, the coalitions that defy any common ideological ground, a bewildered common man, apathetic youngsters, and winds of change with more people especially youth entering the fray. In short a very colorful spectacle.
Living down South in Tamil Nadu and familiar with the goings on of politics in this part of the country best, I shall attempt to put forth below what constitutes politics in the Dravidian Territory.
Roads will remain full of pot holes weathering the summer or the monsoon. But one fine day… they will acquire a new sheen. Roads in (only in) select areas will astonish beholders with their smooth surfaces. And of course, later one can witness them merrily crumble beneath wheels in a matter of months. You will realize that all the fuss was because a politician’s visit was due in that locality. That’s the common man’s brush with politics.
In the event of important days of ‘national interest’, that is the birthdays of the leaders of the parties, posters banners and flex boards will adorn the city premises. NOTE: I suggest tourists time their tour of the city during this time for it will yield an exotic landscape that captivates the eye.
These banners will reach heights beyond the statutory limits. They will be positioned in strategic points in the city where they act as dutiful obstructions to daily life. The court’s orders to remove banners that cause hindrance to public life will be defied.
But ahh … the extremely creative captions on them that sing praise of the veterans of the parties, the unbelievable talent behind the pictures and photos morphed on Photoshop will leave one gaping in awe… Most importantly, the martyrdom of citizens who got seriously injured by the banner falling on them adds importance to these practices. They definitely define politics for quite a few of us here.
For the Aam Admi politics is synonymous to Freebies. Free rice. Free Color T.V. (Excellent!!) Free Land. Why try to improve your status in life by hard work and some effort when the magnanimous government is ever ready to satisfy not just your needs but also wants?! Why bother to think about the electricity bills at the end of the month from using power-consuming machines like the television..? Who cares if the quality of rice at the PDS is bad; it’s *Free*… And yes…why wonder where the money for all this flows from or even stop to think about the corruption that this must entail…
As for the politicians, it’s a master plan to cripple minds of those at the bottom of the pyramid with something as powerful as the television; while taking care to provide numerous channels most of which are run by the party members or aficionados. While television can completely stop people from thinking, why not feed them more of it and curb their lives to one of Work-Food-TV…
Politics is the promise of freebies AND the unfulfilled promises of course. Promises are meant to be broken.
Politics is when different news channels run by different political parties give different versions of the same news. It gets even more eventful when they point fingers at each other in a pseudo-reliable tone. The fun is ours to devour.
When the solution to every issue raised is a ‘Bandh’ and Mahatma Gandhi’s Fast-unto- Death concept is a tad over used … that my friends, is politics. When every protest on rights and justice begins a week or so before polls, you know feel and recognize politics at its best.
When polls are on and the Election Commission has set down that all campaigning should halt, there will be decoy operations distributing cash for voters; trying to tap the people’s sense of morality which works thus “Having accepted their money it is unfair if we don’t vote for them”.
You see, the mob seldom thinks beyond to reason out that their own tax money that has been looted over the years has just been given to them in a different form. Yes, this is politics too.
Finally when every political party worth its salt has staged at least one protest for the cause of the language, held at least a few meetings on the cause, one or two fasts, and claimed to be the sole representation of the interest of those people, then you know this is nothing but politics.
Politics. Heard of this etymology of the word? : Poly +Ticks (you know those blood sucking parasites…) This is what defines politics in the minds of the general public here. Of course the winds of change are blowing and a spring clean is long overdue. Change shall come, from the socially committed, the youth and the true patriots. We shall and will keep striving for this.
In the meanwhile, let’s make best use of the drama and theatrics of our leaders so we can have strong examples of How Not To Be.