15 March 2014, 8 AM
I was reading the editorial of “The Indian Express” on my way to Delhi in the train. The editorial was titled “Main hoon aam patrakaar” (I am a common journalist) by Shekhar Gupta. In a long, long time, an editorial had provoked such thoughts in my head which could compel me to write. I am a typical middle-class, educated, employed urban Indian of current times you see, reading and assimilating opinions from various sources, judging them, sometimes smiling silently to myself on account of the great debates on social media platforms by many of my friends and acquaintances on the political scenario of today. How does any of this debate matter, I say to myself, when it is solely your responsibility and solely in your power to interpret any of the thousands FACTS or many more myriad versions of those are served to you on the platter of newspapers, news channels and so on. Although, to be fair, I hardly ever ‘listen’ to news, one of the many advantages of not owning a television set, so that I can read and assimilate the “news” in my own time, on my own pace and of my own accord, instead of it being rammed down my throat via
shouting reporting people in news studios.
Anyways, coming back to the editorial, Shekhar Gupta has written so many things I myself have been wondering about for a long time now. I, for one, well, I wouldn’t say it here, but voted for “you know who” in the Delhi elections. And since then, I have been waiting for the promised results. But reading the editorial today makes me wonder. How could I be so foolish? How could I ever expect those results without pausing for a minute to figure out such basic questions as:
- Source for supply of water
- Money for free electricity
- Maths behind the gas pricing
For a person who prides herself on her analytical skills, I feel ashamed to not bother to even look for data, forget analyzing it. I was just too happy to know that there was a man in the Indian political scenario who was literate, I sure hoped “educated“, a bureaucrat, who spoke of eradicating corruption with such conviction that now I am thinking of revising my dramatics skills by taking a few cues from him, and most importantly, who was new. It is now that I understand ‘anti-incumbency’ much better.
I recall all those conversations with my father, an uncle, and an aunt, where each of them was supporting a different party. Well, I do not know who they voted for, but I regret that I didn’t listen to them, my father in particular. They had asked me a few very basic questions – Corruption is not the problem of Indian politics solely, bureaucracy suffers from it too. Why is it then, that, a person in position of power there, quits his job to correct the wrong that corruption has done elsewhere. At that time, I had told myself (and them) the same argument that I had heard being repeated in media (social media in particular) – “He does not want political interference”. But now that I think about it, I was rooting for a person, who couldn’t do his job well, to work for my city. Boy, does that sound stupid now!
Regarding the so-called “arrest” in Gujarat, I am recalling a tweet by Chetan Bhagat, ‘I’m going to land up unannounced at US Prez Obama’s office with 30 media cameras. If he doesn’t meet,he’s obviously corrupt and scared of me.’
Can anyone see the LOGIC here.
When the two parties with maximum seats refused to form Government in Delhi, I was worried of my decision. Had I voted for this indecisiveness? I am, by all means, a supporter of all forms of democracy, including referendum. But if I have to vote for every sneeze of the Government, then, thank you very much, I might as well save my time voting for the Government in the first place.
The unmindful comments on an issue like Kashmir, the unwarranted attacks on other political parties without substantial proof, the immature scathing outbursts on media, all make me wonder, was this the change I had hoped for? While I am thinking of all these things, I am forced to consider the so-called “Conspiracy Theories” of the supposed, behind the scene, political alliance of two parties to divide the votes of a third one. Do I believe this theory? Not yet. Am I intrigued by it? Much more strongly then I ought to be, considering my
cast wasted vote. But like I said, I was stupid to take the manifesto on its face value (or rather the fact that the party claimed to have separate manifestos for all constituencies based on specific needs)
Unfortunately, all these things are in retrospect here. I wasn’t a visionary, I never claimed to be one. I am merely who I am, a typical middle-class, educated, employed urban Indian of current times, hoping to figure out which way to go.
Considering the only option left, I think over the question – is it OK to have a Government which claims to bring economic growth ( not development), at the cost of alleged stains of communal over the encompassing saffron. If you had asked me this question a few weeks ago, my answer would have been, “Let’s look at the future and bury the past.” But now I am thinking, “The party which openly supported the SC decision against the LGBTQ community, basically openly curbed the rights of a community claiming it to be unnatural (that by the way, is a whole different issue to be discussed in a separate write-up some other time), is it the right choice?”
Can the growth (and not development) of the majority at the cost of minority , be justified? This question would also have elicited a different response from me, just a couple of days ago. But I read “Being ethical” – Ethics as the foundation of business, and now I am not so sure of my answer.
What does this long rant mean? I am confused. Like a million others. And I need help. To figure out. But time is short. I do not want to write a similar text post the next elections, in retrospection. So, any LOGICAL pearls of wisdom are welcome here!