I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.
But really, what the hell is the matter with people? To read some of the reactions in the Indian press today, you’d think the world had ended. They’re all “OMG!! Bribery!! Horsetrading!! Lying!! Scandal!!”
Damn, I didn’t see any of that coming, did you? Especially when an embattled Congress minority government was seeking a trust vote that was forced upon them by their erstwhile allies over an issue of national interest. I mean, no such thing has ever happened in the world’s largest, most vibrant, most functioning, most inclusive, most amazing, most fantabulousest, most fantasticingest democracy ever! Gadzooks, I’m shocked!
Remember the time when the Madras Assembly erupted in chaos and somebody ripped Jayalalitha’s saree while Karunanidhi got his spectacles broken? How about the time when the Uttar Pradesh Assembly had a free for all? Take a good look at the lovely footage above if you want a little reminder. In fact, I’m pretty sure I remember something from the late 80s/early 90s, probably during one of those short lived VP Singh – Chandrashekhar governments, about chairs being thrown in the Parliament itself. Definitely, there are instances even in recent days when members across the political spectrum have just about restrained themselves from committing physical violence (example one, two and three for your edification).
As for horsetrading and bribery – wow, who’d have thunk it? I guess all those occasions when party leaders whisk their members off to a secluded spot only to “parade” them in front of a governor or the President, was just the figment of some reporter’s fancy. Why, everybody knows Indian politicians can’t be bought! They have Gandhi in one ear and God in the other – they’ll never stray! Nuh-uh. Or if they do, then only The Other Party does it, where TOP = Party You Don’t Belong To.
And don’t even get me started on criminal politicians! No such thing has ever existed. Every politician who has ever been arrested, charged or convicted was obviously a victim of bas and political chicanery… sorry, was that too much for you? A little less denial would be welcome?
Well, imagine what the people who these shining examples of leadership represent feel about the situation if you’re this exercised. So why isn’t anybody putting any pressure on Parliament to pass a law that says you can’t stand for elections if you’ve been convicted of a crime? How about some of that celebrated (by itself) Press action here? I guess it’s one thing to hound ordinary citizens and then congratulate yourself about a much needed job well done, but entirely another to actually drum up support for things that are deeply relevant to all of us but runs the risk of pissing off those in power.
I’m all for better standards in public life and aspiring to something better than what we’ve got in the past, but let’s leave disingenuous posturing of this kind behind. This is the kind of “black day” and “immorality” and “murder of democratic process” that dawns every few months in Indian democracy and there isn’t a single party that is above it when it plays to their own advantage. It wasn’t invented this July 22nd.
If you genuinely have a problem with the way things are going, then take a break from holding impromptu press conferences and do things differently, no matter how much it hurts your interests. You can’t play in the same mud pool as everybody else of your own free will and then say you’re only doing it because your friends and enemies refuse to come out. That kind of excuse didn’t work when you were a child and it sure as hell won’t fly now when you’re playing around with the lives and fates of millions of people.
Like every other Indian, I’ve seen this song and dance before and it really doesn’t impress me. But I am glad to see two positive things emerge from this fracas:
One, my dad found a substitute for IPL on TV. He’s very picky about his trash TV and until this came along, he was slowly slipping back into his workaholic ways. But now he can finally relax. Thank you, neta-log!
Two, I’m glad we’re slowly evolving to a point where people have finally realized that they can’t govern a country by throwing chairs at each other. Or at least evolving to a point where we don’t throw chairs at the least provocation. Thank you, God.
Because really, Bharat bhagya vidhaata is as true today as it’s ever been.