By Mayank Jain:
“Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.”
With the above statement, Doug Larson inadvertently summed up the entireÂ political crisis that we face today. The problem with our politics is not as much as the political system, but the politicians. When the ideals of democracy intermingle with caste, religion and similar divides, we get instances that shame and leave the idea of aÂ secularist democracy red faced.
As shown on aÂ footage accessed by the television channels, Shiv Sena MPs allegedly force fed a Muslim caterer in a canteen at Maharashtra Bhawan which made him break his Ramzan fast. The video and the report have raised widespread outrage from the Parliament where almost every party called for apology and a clarification on the matter.
Shiv Sena now finds itself on shaky grounds since the ghosts of the party’s communal past have come back to haunt it. With the allegations made by the caterer, the party’s intolerance towards other religions has come to the fore. There have been multiple misogynistic comments which have been brushed under the carpet and similar fate was doled out to multiple instances of intolerant violence against religious groups.
However, the party has alleged that the issue is not communal at all and appropriated it to the abysmal food. A statement by Rajan Vichare doesn’t do a good job in defending their position, “The facilities aren’t proper at Maharashtra Sadan. Incident is being given a communal colour, must not do so. It is the same thing as going to a restaurant. If you are served bad food, won’t you call the manager and ask him to taste it? We did the same”
If you are served bad food, you won’t make a manager eat without his consent. If you are served bad food, you will at least be humble enough realize that you belong to the Indian polity with some reputation to protect and not resort to thuggery in a government run canteen. The canteen is run by Railways and the complaints, no matter how many in number don’t make up a case for humiliating a caterer.
It is not the first instance of Shiv Sena’s show of strength over inconsequential things. “B********, in spite of my saying it, you don’t let the car pass. I’m warning you, I will ask the women of my family to strip you,” was the response of a Shiv Sena leader who was asked for toll money at an all women booth while he was travelling in his personal car.
Shiv Sena is not the only party known for its extremism and blatant violent tendencies but they are surely one of the most infamous ones for the same. The reasons are many. The party has been accused of polarizing voters just before the elections are due by taking religious stands and appeasing their vote banks. The short tempered party is infamous for their protests and outrage against photoshopped pictures of Shivaji on Facebook and this resulted in damaged buses and public property in Pune.
The protests of 2003 Â still comeÂ in our mind when we think of Shiv Sena. The party’s supporters actually damaged the cricket pitch of the Agra Sport Stadium where an India Pakistan cricket match was supposed to happen, in order to protest against the series with Pakistan. The fierce sense of nationalism and pungent desire to have the country run on so called ‘cultural values’ of one religion while the party goes on to offend everyone else, might not be the best solution for our social fabric.
The fact that other parties have woken up to this intrusion gives a little hope but some legal and moral intervention is long overdue for the party. A clue for a dying party/political system is that any news about them is bad newsÂ and the earlier they realise this, the lesser will be the need for our judiciary and legal systems to intervene. We have tried aristocracy and we have tried regionalism, but let’s stop before the democracy turns into a belligerent theocracy.
To know more about this story and what I think, follow me on Twitter atÂ @mayank1029