Sheila Dikshit has been sworn in as Governor of Kerala today. Sheila, who waxed eloquent about how women shouldn’t venture out on the roads of Delhi alone in the evenings and then crib about lack of safety; Sheila, who is purported to have amassed quite a bit of money in the run up to the Common Wealth Games. We can forget what she is accused of because a Governor hardly matters.
A. Raja has won a ticket to contest the LS elections from Tamil Nadu as of yesterday. Raja, who spent many a month in jail over a billion dollar telecom scam; Raja, who has been a DMK loyalist and “sacrificed” his precious months of livelihood for the sake of his party. We can ignore why he spent some time in jail, because one possible MP can’t harm us much.
Amma has been nursing PM ambitions for a while now. Amma, who brought Chennai to a halt with a serious law and order issue in the 90s, when she conducted her adopted (now estranged) son’s wedding; Amma, who is defending herself in a “disproportionate assets” case in court. We might not even remember what she did because that was so long ago and she must have been young and immature then.
Rumors of what exactly happened during Operation Blue Star float abound, while the kith and kin of the person behind it play politics, talking about empowerment, power decentralization and an RSS twist to Godse.
We really don’t bother about what happened in Muzaffarnagar a few months back, because we are still debating what exactly happened in Gujarat earlier this decade.
Who are we, as a nation? What are our morals? What do we identify with? What do we relate to?
More importantly, what do we fight against? Is it communalism or casteism or corruption? I don’t know the answers. I don’t believe we really fight any of these things.
We like our convenience. We bribe the traffic policeman since it is cheaper and faster. We get agitated over reservations because we are losing out on well-earned opportunities. We, the educated populace of this country, who believe we are secular, don’t move into residential areas that are “Muslim strongholds”, and hesitate to enroll our kids in “Christianity propagating” convent schools.
Then, why does our secularist antenna pop up when we think of Modi or the BJP? If you think about it, the debate on secularism is absurd, because of two reasons. One, most of us are hardly secular in our actions. And, two, there is no political party out there that is truly secular, for each is busy playing up one religion against another for its own political mileage.
It only boils down to what we believe as humans, not our ideologies as a nation; ideologies that have time and again been ignored, trivialized or worse still, broken.
I assume (and hopefully rightly so) that the only thing we can agree on is that we shouldn’t harm other humans, or give power to people who run the risk of harming other humans. In fact, I still get agitated when I think of the ethnic cleansing that happened in Sri Lanka, for that is how I think of it. But, I am sure there are Lankans who have a different view, who believe their leader isn’t at fault, and who trust that it was in everyone’s best interests to end the civil war.
I don’t know whether believing that Modi wasn’t party to the riots in Gujarat is just selective amnesia, or whether it is based on the fact that there has been no conclusive evidence to convict him. It does seem to be the latter. For, whatever else we may or may not have, we do seem to have a largely impartial judiciary that has given some unassailable, albeit very delayed judgments in the past. Then, who are we to convict him? Why do we hold him to ransom on the Gujarat riots, while ignoring many other political persona that have knowingly been party to many other riots and wrong doings in this country?
Is it because he is too Hindutva, and it is not fashionable for us to be perceived as Pro-Hindutva? Is it because he doesn’t come across as a pseud, English speaking, well educated politician with fancy degrees in economics and finance? Or, is it because we really don’t believe in the power of democracy and are scared that he might replicate the Gujarat model of riots across India, and emerge to be the Hitler of the 21st century?
Whatever the case, let’s at least apply the same framework and filters while evaluating every politician, Modi or otherwise. Otherwise, it seems to me a rather unfair assessment and biased verdict.