Have you ever wondered why people get so violent on trivial matters and support some highly illogical ideology during elections? Have you ever thought-why it is easier to polarise voters by gathering a mob to spread violence than to gather 10 people to plant trees? Have you ever tried to understand why riots on the basis of religion, region or caste get the support from the ‘educated’ or the, during or just before the elections? The answer, my friend, is – Politics of Fear!
As children, most of us faced the politics of fear when our parents made us do things they wanted us to do by instilling the fear of ghosts, cockroaches, punishment, police or some really weird animal that doesn’t actually exist in our minds. Unfortunately, the politics of fear isn’t restricted to families. This fear is employed by our political and religious leaders on a massive scale ahead of the elections.
World over, leaders create fear among people and win elections by polarizing votes, silencing all the crucial questions raised by common people against the administration or to establish their dictatorial rule or sometimes even to sell their products. Yes, products! Don’t we know how some powerful countries sell their weapons to other countries by creating fear in the world in the name of terrorism.
“There will be a massive threat to the existence of XYZ religion if ABC party comes to power; we need the leader of our caste so that they can protect our community; this election is a battle to protect the pride of our state; there is a threat from a neighboring country and only one leader can save our country”. We do hear such statements very often. Such statements subtly instill fear in the minds of the people which is then triggered every now and then by certain political groups for their own vested interests. Fear is the biggest enemy of logic which gives rise to insecurities in people, making them vulnerable to caste and communal mobilization.
The question is, how do we combat the politics of fear? Fear can be combated only by a sense of security, strength, and togetherness. We need to prioritize humanity over our religious, caste and even the national identities. It is said, “five mins after your birth, they decide your name, nationality, religion and sect and you spend rest of your life defending something you didn’t choose.” If I just see myself as a human then I will be left with only one fear, which is death, and death is inevitable.
We must rise above our ‘social identities’ and start accepting diversities. The more we accept diversity, the more we feel secure with different people and different cultures around us. And most importantly we will be able to cast our votes rationally and without fear. So before you press the EVM button to register your vote in the upcoming general elections, ask yourself if you are voting out of ‘fear’ or not.