What is politics? While voting or not voting for a party is definitely a political act, what is more important is how we participate and engage with everyday occurrences and understanding the political consequences of our daily choices. But in this day and age, what does it mean to be ‘apolitical’?
Apolitical means ‘having no interest or involvement in political affairs’, or ‘having an aversion to politics or political affairs’. So, if you’re neutral towards government action, you’d be classified as apolitical. But, we live in a democracy where our civic and social rights are ensured by an elected government, so how does “having no political bias” work? It doesn’t.
Disengaging from politics and its consequences is a luxury that isn’t afforded to everyone. Those who choose to look away have the privilege to do so. They have largely benefited from class structures in place in society and more often than not, it’s ‘apathy’ rather that political neutrality. It is important to remember that not everyone has the luxury to be disengaged. Add to that, being apolitical signifies an implicit endorsement of the current economic, political, and social structure of India, along with its oppressive caste system, patriarchy, and economic inequalities.
Politics affects our daily lives and the buck does not stop with casting your vote every five years. It’s so much more. If you’ve got easy access to fair trade coffee, that’s political. Governments dictate how food is grown, stored, distributed and accessed. So, with every sip, you’re taking a stand on state policies.
Public transport, construction of roads, railways and airports are all government initiatives, so potholes and traffic are all political. If you don’t feel safe or comfortable while travelling, the people responsible are your elected officials. From the kind of education you receive, to who you marry, and even what newspaper you read, every little decision adds up to one big political choice.
Taking a stand for your politics can lead to being isolated, or being attacked, online and offline. But the good news is—every time you speak up against someone, you’re raising your voice for another who may not have the freedom to raise theirs. And it starts small, from taking a stand against fake news being shared on family groups to sustainable fashion choices.
Being political is about educating oneself, showing up for a cause one believes in, amplifying an important petition or calling out a problematic relative. There’s no list of rules to follow. But when we choose to look away, we’re directly adding to the oppression of marginalised communities—often women and children. Being political, starts from asking simple questions and making simple choices.
Watch the video here.