Hari Shanker R

Hari Shanker R

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

The Politics Of Confusion

Almost every person who has known me for a while would know that I am a person with no political affiliations whatsoever. Yes, so if you ask me about the political outfit I stand for – I really do not have an answer for your question.

The reason being simple – I am politically confused.

[quotes]

That definitely does not mean I am disinterested in politics. I started keenly observing the political space as a child. I grew up at a time when my country, India, had just opened its doors to the world; when the information overload had just begun. Politics was something that you simply could not miss, thanks to the omnipresent media through which political leaders announced their gargantuan plans for development (most often leading to a series heated discourses, arguments and counter arguments on national television). The Narasimha Raos, the Deva Gowdas, The Gujarals and the Vajpayees never failed to catch my attention.

Despite my obvious interest in politics, something that was cultivated within me from an early age – thanks to the unavoidable information overload, one thing always kept bothering me – my inability to take a political stand. It even reflects in the way I have exercised my electoral franchise all this while. I have actually voted for all the major outfits throughout my voting stints till date! It also doesn’t help that different members of my extended family are part of all the major outfits as well. My paternal aunt and her family are chronic supporters of the left while my maternal family has never failed to vote for the Congress. And my cousin’s husband had actually contested in the parliamentary elections on a BJP ticket! (in those pre-NaMo times, that is). Which means, there practically is no ‘influence’ from the family to support a certain outfit; not that I would want such a thing myself, but yes – if such were the case, I could at least cite a reason why I support a particular party.

And that brings me to the reason behind my obvious political confusion. Now, allow me to ask you something: Why do you support the political outfit of your choice? Their ideologies? Their track record? The rhetoric and public support of the illustrious leader of the said political party? The history and the legacy of the political party and the role it has had to play in the development of your country? Or… is it because, the political party you support openly endorses the religion or the faith you believe in?

For me, all these questions fail to give justifiable answers.

As for ideologies, I don’t see any clear-cut ideologies offered by any of the political parties worth standing by. I was briefly enamored by the Aam Aadmi Party’s stand against corruption. But a party with the major selling point of anti-corruption, with a feeble leadership and lack of other driving agendas is bound to failure (which eventually happened, sort-of). Besides, if a party with the sole stand of anti-corruption could raise so many eyeballs (in the good days of AAP), it simply shows the ideological drought India is going through… I happen to be a clear casualty of the same.

Things are funny when it comes to the track record and party legacy. For every ‘achievement’ each party quotes as its own – there are five other stark examples of rampant corruption/mismanagement. I really do not want to get into the nauseating details here, but if you’ve been watching TV, you know, right? I hope I’ve made my point.

Now, as for leadership – I definitely have to admit that the leadership qualities and the public support enjoyed by our Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi are exceptional. From a party that was in a nearly decimated state a couple of years ago, he could garner public support by building a brand of his own and even single-handedly winning the elections with an impressive majority. As an able leader, many believe that he has the potential to turn around the fortunes of the country. That said, it would not be factually accurate to call Shri. Modi a person with a clean track record. And history has enough examples citing what could happen when a respectable leader chooses the wrong path.

Besides, one cannot turn a blind eye to the rising instances of communal polarization happening in the country right now. I see many people and organizations among me, spewing communal hatred and venom. I do have my reservations and fears about the direction our country is heading to. I can only hope for the best and pray for peace, to the same Gods for whom people are ready to die for (and even kill for). In fact, communal polarization and appeasement has always been a driving force for all political parties who have ruled the country. It’s something the congress and its allies have successfully employed for ages to ride on the wave of the minority vote-bank; that’s one of the reasons why have had the country in their clutches for quite a while now. The ruling front is allegedly reinventing it, through ‘majority appeasement’.

And I strictly do not endorse linking religion with politics. I am a devout believer in Hinduism, but that is definitely no reason for me to support a ‘Hindu’ party. I am of the opinion that religion and beliefs are personal choices, and should ideally have little role in nation-building. Apparently, a lion’s share of India’s population disagrees with my point of view – and that’s what scares me the most.

I don’t think I am the only person facing the same dilemma – if I look around, I can find a million politically confused friends of mine. And I feel this is one of the biggest dilemmas faced by the youth of this country. All of us want to do something for the country – we are bustling with energy, with resources, with intellectual capital. But, deep down, we are confused. We don’t know where to start… We don’t have lofty ideologies to drive us… Heck, we don’t even know what do or even whom to vote for!

Will I ever find a way out of this confusion? I really do not foresee the birth of any radical organizations or parties, at least in the near future. AAP did bring some hope, but it fizzled out within no time. People voted the BJP to power with a lot of expectations – but we are yet to see any radical changes. Of course, there is one thing we could do as empowered, educated youth. Keeping the political confusions and influences at bay, we ourselves could take the baton of nation-building on ourselves. Yes, there is a lot we could do to uplift our nation. A starting point to the same would be to do best the things we do/we love to do. Perhaps, when we all strive collectively for common good, a unifying ideology would emerge… Something that would help us not only make our country, but also the world a better place… 🙂

The fact that we are politically confused would become a non-issue then.

© 2017, Hari Shanker R. Some Rights Reserved.
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