Categories
Viewpoint

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.

Categories
Blogging Viewpoint

Racism: Some hard facts

If you haven’t been following the news, there’s been  back-to-back (supposedly racist) attacks on at least six Asians (Indians)  in Australia. One person (a 25 year old student named Shravan Kumar) suffered serious (almost fatal) injuries and is still in critical condition. The media has had its field day, voicing venomous rhetoric on the spate of racist attacks. There’s been a flurry of protests, globally. 18 Indians were arrested after one such protest (for no reason, apparently) and later let out, in Australia. The incident has reached spectacular proportions with  Amitabh ‘Big B’ Bachchan rejecting a doctorate degree conferred on him by Queensland University of Technology, Australia, in protest.

CC credits: ThinkVegan

A few thoughts in this regard:

  • In India, millions of people were/are slaughtered (not just beaten up, but hacked into pieces) just because they belonged to a particular religion/caste/sect or because they spoke a particular language. News items about foreign nationals getting attacked/molested abound by the day. Such a nation, which can’t even handle its internal woes has no right to protest about half a dozen of  its citizens getting flogged abroad!
  • People who go outside the nation to pursue higher education – I do not blame them. Our education facilities are abysmal to say the least. But they should keep the fact in mind that there’s no reason cribbing after being hit by drunk/unruly/racist people. They should’ve thought about the consequences.
  • Australia, is more pluralist a nation than India, and if you check the stats, the incidents of violence is far lower than the same in India! Calling Australia (and other foreign nations where NRIs live, for that matter) ‘racist’ without any sound reason, whatsoever, is sheer madness! Any country would give preference to its own citizens rather than foreigners – it’s natural. Cribbing over policies by foreign nations that support its citizens and condemning their ‘discriminatory’ laws is childish!
  • The media has a staunch hand in beating the issue out of proportion. Far from showing solidarity with the hapless victims, it has commercialized the whole issue, spewing meaningless debates, in a relentless quest for eye-ball space and ad-revenue! I’m reminded of the quote by media-baron Rupert Murdoch (which incidentally, is featured in the bond movie – ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’): “There’s no news, like bad news.”
  • Why bother to leave your motherland for a distant land in search of ‘better prospects’? Given all the resources of our nation, it’s not so hard to find success here. All one needs is some will-power to fight the anomalies of the system that bog you down and to cut the red tape!

All said, Racism is a reality – an ugly truth that refuses to go away despite all the anti-apartheid-struggles and tryst-to-destiny’s. Xenophobia and racism – meaningless mutual hatred, will exist as long as man remains to be a social animal. However stringent the laws become, however brainwashed people get, in the back of their mind, many citizens, if not all,  will always be xenophobic. The only way to tackle racism is to stay back in your own nation, swear by it and to work for it!

Still, is it so hard to realize that despite minor bodily, soci0-economic differences, a subsaharan tribal is a carbon copy of Hon. Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd? 🙂

The last ink drop:

Check out this series of racism tests – an ingenious way to check if you’re racist or not!

Categories
Musings Thoughts

Vote for India!

Within three days,  seventy hundred and fifteen million Indians would exercise their electoral franchise in the world’s biggest democratic exercise. Indeed, a proud moment for all of us Indians. The power of democracy showcased in its sublimest way. Yet, there are many amongst us, people who call themselves ‘skeptics’. People who’ve decided not to vote for this elections, citing a feeble argument that it wouldn’t make a difference.

Vote!

CC Credits: piccadillywilson

Trust me, if you’re a person like that, you’re making a VERY VERY grave mistake!

In fact it’s incumbent on us to do something for our Motherland. “Us” as in, you, me and the people around us. That’s why India is  called a democracy. The best thing we can do is to vote out the present government and give someone else a chance. Someone once said that  in a democracy, no government is brought to power – always, the ruling government gets thrown out. We are responsible for our leaders and our country – the best thing we can do is to “vote” and make sure we are heard. If you say that doesn’t make a difference – then please open your eyes! To quote the Jaago Re ad, you are SLEEPING!  It really does make a difference. By not voting you are allowing a corrupt government to continue in power/you are not allowing a progressive government to continue the process of reforms (depends on how you view the current political milieu). If you vote against a corrupt government, you are at least “trying” to push them down and vice versa. Does that ring a bell? People often say:  “None of the candidates I’m goanna vote for are good. Then why even bother?”. Unfortunately, that is truth – it’s necessary evil. The situation can be changed only by getting more and more people to involve in politics. Politics is not a bad thing. It’s one of the best jobs in the world. It gives immense power – the power to make the world a better place to live in! It’s just because of a handful (understatement, yes!) of selfish, power-hungry ‘leaders’ that politics has lost its sanctity . Get involved in politics of the country so that you make yourself heard and not leave the fate of the country to some party leaders. Who are party leaders after all? They are just citizens of the country – you are as much responsible as they are – the only point is that you need to VOTE!

Why do things like reservation come up? Its minority appeasement and nothing more! Everyone knows that. Why do they have to appease the minorities? The facts are simple. Its only the minorities who vote – and the guys in power know that. Whatever the govt does against the majority; the majority assumes to be blind and “curses” destiny/fate/God. But we bloody do not ealise that, we need to show them that we are also a part of the country – and we should show that not by celebrating the victory of Abhinav Bindra and Dhoni’s men but by voting and say “Hello! We are also citizens of this country”. The same applies to the minorities who’ve been suffering from the yoke of oppression since God knows when. They should realize that they’re as equal as the people who exploit them. They should stand up against hunger and poverty. They don’t realize the potency of the weapon in their hands… The power of electoral franchise!

Terrorism – India bled and hung its head down in shame at Mumbai on 26th of November – when ten-odd people held the commerical capital of India to ransom. More importantly, they did it where the most elite people of the country assemble! The Taj and Oberoi – the supposed hang out place for the guys who run the economy. The terrorists were making one fact clear. “Hello folks – see we got into your Taj and killed people. We can EASILY walk into your residential area and do it! Get it? So please stop iritating us for Kashmir – give that part to us” . They could have killed lakhs from the slums of Dharavi with half the investment. Then why did they choose to kill a few hundred and attack just the rich? The answer to all these riddles lie in the sole press of a button. The button that could change world. The buttons of the electronic voting machine!

You’ve time from April 16th to May 13th. Analyze the performance of your candidates, run a background check, and go vote! Spend 2-3 hours in the queue and elect your leader. You spend the same amount of time to watch a Bollywood movie. Time is precious. Use it… to vote!

Stand up. Speak out. Change!

P.S.

Heavily inspired by an e-mail from a friend. 🙂

Categories
Blogging

Bloggers meet Shashi Tharoor

Some of us Trivandrum bloggers met Shashi Tharoor yesterday (Tuesday, 31st March) at his residence in Pipinmoodu, Thiruvananthapuram. The meeting was organized by Kenney and had over ten of us, namely Akhil, Sanil, Chandrettan, Zaheer and others attending. The extremely busy M.P. candidate from the city spared a few moments for us and answered a couple of questions from us. Meeting the man was a great experience by its own right, and we once again avowed our votes for him.


Image Courtesy: Akhil

For more pics of the meet, check out this wonderful post by Akhil