Recently, I snuck my head into one of the biggest rooms on earth. The Room’s splendour and squalor, wealth and dehumanising poverty were on full display. I lingered on the crowds and the beauty of the Room. The Room was teeming with people; the most people of all but one other Room on earth. What caught my eye was one small corner of the Room. A Class happened to be in session. It was a Class entirely made up of adults. The head of the Class known as the Big Chair occupied the big chair in the Room. Others sat in chairs spread around the Room in no particular order. In fact, one could argue they were quite disorderly. The Big Chair was just as disorderly. It was a rowdy Class. The scene in the Class was one of complete chaos. The Class seemed a perfect picture of cacophony. The adults all spoke out of turn and over each other, often interrupting and heckling each other. They spoke at each other–not with or to each other. Some of them were angry. Others tried to be funny. Some others had a bullying tinge to their remarks. Others were outright dictators. They all engaged in name calling–using the others’ names or their groups to make fun of them. There was democracy in the Class–but the conduct of the Class was disturbing and divisive. The language of democracy in the Class was vituperative and derogatory.
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The Big Chair in the Class argued his predecessors in the big chair and others had given more land for more graveyards but had not built more crematoria. He must have been worried that the Class faced imminent extinction and there weren’t enough cremation and burial facilities for the Class. For the rest of the people, men, women and children in the Room, the Class didn’t seem to care. They weren’t worried about other people’s future, their jobs, shelter, the roads, the infrastructure, the schools or universities or the hospitals. The Class wasn’t worried about the clean water for all to drink or clean air for all to breathe. The biggest concern of the Big Chair was to ensure the dead could all exercise their choice to be buried or cremated. No, he didn’t express much concern for the living people of the Room, their jobs, education or health facilities. But he wanted to make dead sure they all had appropriate last rites–as if life itself gone out of the Big Chair; life could remain hell; he wanted to ensure they were all equal in death.
One of the Class argued that people professing certain religion would be better off supporting her group–a sure way to divide the people in the Room. Another adult asked a prominent artist, the brand ambassador for a particular corner in the Room, not to promote the donkeys from that part of the Room. Someone called the Big Chair “the negative man”. No, it wasn’t about poverty and injustice. It was all about castes and religions–the disheartening and diabolical debate in the Class. The Big Chair piped in about no electricity for Diwali while abundant current flowed for Ramzan. No, he didn’t say anything about no electricity or running water in thousands of villages, millions of homes and jhuggies in the Room. He didn’t ask why the palace like homes of the rich had everything from electricity to running water but the poor and the poorest had none of it. He was being clever in his juxtaposition and not between the haves and have-nots, only between religions. The Big chair loved acronyms. He smeared the combine of four adults and their groups opposing him in the class as SCAM–making an acronym out of their names. His flunkey ridiculed those differing with the Big Chair in the class by trotting out the acronym Kasab–the detested dead terrorist from 26/11–using ka, Sa and Ba from the different adults’/groups’ names in the Class that opposed the Big Chair; in one fell swoop branding them terrorists and enemies of the Room.
The Room was and is India; the Class was and is the Indian Political Class and the corner of the Room in which the Class was on, the states currently undergoing elections. The Indian Political Class is pitifully shameless and self absorbed to the point of Nero- narcissism. The long peek into the Political Class in the Room was and is absolutely depressing. In their words and actions the Class seemed quintessential juvenile delinquents. The conversation in the Political Class was and is heartbreakingly moronic, severely ethically challenged and morally delinquent and divisive. Unless the people of India soon awoke, rose and challenged the myopic, self-centred and ethically challenged Political Class, the infantile politicians of the Class will be the ruin of India.