Saturday, Nov 22, 2014

Colonial bacteria in Indian politics

Written by Shombit Sengupta | Posted: January 26, 2014 3:15 am

SSMBritish colonisers clandestinely implanted the sanctity of the ten commandments into the value system of India’s elite classes. These, as I wrote last week, taught us not to challenge, revolt or take responsibility, be a happy subordinate, a perfect clerk, respect designated superiors, compromise, propagate and speak English to land plum jobs, learn by rote, use manpower not automation, perpetuate social turmoil to turn mass attention away from the ruler’s megalomaniac actions.

In today’s political situation, the bad bacteria from these commandments appear to be flourishing and infiltrating the three very clear political classes that are emerging: (1) “elite dynasty followers class,” an off-shoot of British colonialism, (2) “non secular class as per opposition’s perception,” (3) “new politically active dharna (protest) class.” With bad bacteria smothering India, everyone’s lungs have been infected.

Elite dynasty follower class: The feudal attitude of these politicians is evident from various arrogant references. One equated economy airplane seats to “cattle class”; another mocked the opposition candidate’s humble tea selling livelihood beginnings, saying rising above that would be impossible but selling tea outside the venues of important dynasty follower meetings will be allowed. When the dynasty candidate jumps atop a police van defying road traffic rules to allow the outstretched hands of “subjects” to touch his fingers, it’s not considered a mistake, just “de-dynastification”. But for our country’s huge population that travels over a heap of bricks in a truck or climbs atop utility vehicles to wash them, this charade is every day lived experience.  Trapped with low incomes, they consider rich privileged people as a higher caste, an elevated status the poor cannot occupy. Interestingly, the not rich and young Zap generation perceives such showmanship as election drama hype where nothing substantial will occur for them in any case.

Non-secular class as per opposition’s perception: A predetermined single candidate often becomes a driving force, as in the presidential election system followed by the US, France and others. Although the “non secular class as per opposition’s perception” has declared a leader, their super-leaders warn against over-confidence as in 2004. Actually all parties have understood it’s not easy to get the common man to select a 2014 election candidate. But when a single leader is focused, winning possibilities increase, as people can identify the person, as evident in the 2011 West Bengal Assembly elections. The current Chief Minister’s hard-hitting spotlight was in sharp contrast to the then Leftist party’s focus on the party, not an individual. So the party was shocked after 34 uninterrupted years of ruling.

TV intervention: When elite national ruling politicians display anger on television, their attitude seems to reflect, “Voters should vote, not interfere with the dynastic kingdom. We know what they deserve.” Sometimes their party colleagues play to the gallery by showing intolerance for such arrogance, although the not rich and Zappers recognise it as a balancing act to keep the electorate quiet. Actually leaders and followers of both dynastic and non-secular parties get into TV debates. continued…

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