Millennium Post

What do you and I think

We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent man, said George Orwell. Curious how it fits India today. Look at the allegations, counter allegations, exposes and revelations taking place everyday and the statement of Orwell starts haunting us. Politics has even breached its nadir, institutions which are expected to steer democracy to the right path are wobbling and the so-called fourth estate, the majority of them at least, are so low in terms of moral code that media has lost all credibility. How will an intelligent person emphasise the obvious under such circumstances?

The process of degeneration is marked by desperation. Desperation of the actors to cling to their acquired position and shift further up the ladder. So acute is the concern to climb the slippery slope that most have deviated from their original brand images. Take India’s original political formation Congress for instance. The party is supposed to express the national aspiration. This is what its leaders had been doing since Congress came into being in 1885. It had changed from its original intention of emerging as a platform for educated Indians to engage the ruling British on civic and political issues to spearheading freedom movement from the British rule and finally as a party of rulers. What remained as a constant was that Congress would uphold the nation’s interest always. Unfortunately in course of time the nation’s interest got equated to the interest of a family and now to help Rahul Gandhi, the great grandson of the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to become the Prime Minister. If one says that the brand Congress has shrunk from a national platform to a family coterie base, will one be accused as a brainless wonder?

From the oldest let us look at the youngest political formation, the AamAdmi Party (AAP). AAP came as, what many – the TV channels in particular – felt was a welcome relief from the personalized, family-run, corruption riddled politics of the nation. Led by the well-respected social activist Anna Hazare the civil society movement ignited hope across the nation. But the final launch of the political product did not live unto the expectation of the curtain raiser teaser campaigns. AAP turned into a political party, had its internal squabbles, shed many including Anna who had brought in credibility along with it popular support and then plunged into contesting election. Every game has its rule. So does politics. This completely diluted AAP and its remaining icons. The civil society movement branded its politics with a ‘jharu’ signifying perhaps to sweep out the corrupt. A closer look at their collective and individual behavior revealed that they themselves had been busy accumulating dirt in the process. Elections are moneymaking time for the contestants and their campaigners. Evidently AAP is also collecting money from sources, which are no less dubious. A collection of adventurists with no commitment to society AAP makes Orwell’s intelligent man shudder to think how will they govern the city of Delhi. Not only that the collection called AAP has no experience with people including top leaders having baggages and at best acting as disruptionists. This is yet another case of a brand going sore.

Let us turn to the other political formation BJP, a party hated by the intelligent man. Didn’t BJP stand for religious fanatism? Isn’t its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi responsible for religious riot in Gujarat? The clear cut branding of BJP is as a party of intolerant fanatics having little respect for the multi-cultural, multi-religious society of India. And see how Modi is behaving – strange isn’t it? Where has gone the fanatism that he was discredited with? Why is he quiet on the divisiveness that his party is known for? More important is where has the brand BJP gone? Why are people chanting Modi instead of Ram? Clearly BJP, too, has drifted from its branding. The intelligent man likes it or not Modi has rebranded BJP.

The impact of the two failures and one rejuvenation has brought the fourth estate to the fore. Intelligent men in media exposed time and again the effort of rebranding of BJP. They are busy exposing BJP in general and Narendra Modi in particular. Unfortunately despite spread of literacy penetration of media into the hearts of average ‘non-intelligent’ citizen is rather low. In addition the star editors are busier penetrating elsewhere than the minds and spirits of common men. Media has thus been caught in a bind. Should they talk of the intransigencies and outright immorality of their brother crusaders or focus on more urgent issues like containing Narendra Modi? The case of an illustrious editor and a magazine, now lying near a crematorium, has caught many in media down, not exactly with their pens.

No doubt the respective defenders of the holy cows of Indian polity – Congress, AAP, Media – will dismiss the common men. The ordinary folks are supposed to borrow thoughts from the intelligent man and not have it on their own. They should not get overwhelmed by an orator and surrender their liberty of following the intelligent man. Had they been aware of historical events they would have known the exploits of Adolf Hitler who was responsible for the last global war. He, too, was a glib speaker like Modi is. And see how the Chief Minister of Gujarat misused his authority. Snooping an innocent lady is a glaring example. No don’t bring in the arguments that nobody complained. Did the former finance minister, now president, complain how he was subjected to snooping by the then home minister?  

Let us ignore such arguments and concede that there are many arguments and counterarguments. But such arguments are for professional political protagonists not for an average Indian who is finding it difficult to buy his onions.
They merely state the simple and obvious fact that netas and chelas alike have failed to live up to their brands. They might try out a new face now. Please spare them their liberty.

The author is a communication consultant

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