May 3, 2019 12:29:54 pm
The Gurgaon aunty who publicly shamed girls for wearing short dresses and was caught on video doing so has since calmed down and apologised. But, it makes one wonder what could follow her five minutes of fame… a political career perhaps or an invitation to Bigg Boss? Because, really, they seem like the same thing, if one goes by the electoral rhetoric being spewed recently.
I was waiting for the election season to renew my cable subscription so I could follow the debates on TV, but guess what… we are more than halfway through and I haven’t felt any driving urge. Do you blame me, or others, for the election ennui, when leaders across party lines make inane statements like for instance Mamata Banerjee, who said she would send the Prime Minister a laddoo made of “mitti” or mud, filled with pebbles so that his teeth would break if he bites into it?
It reminds me of my six-year-old nephew being upset with a classmate because he told him to disappear into a “black hole”. More creative, don’t you think? When it comes to insults, perhaps leaders would do well to spend time with junior school children. Except that the kids would get a rap on the knuckles for using such language. Our leaders do, too, from the Election Commission, but like recalcitrant back-benchers who aren’t afraid of suspension from school for a couple of days, they just come back stronger than ever.
But, like leaders who tend to use their words for short-term impact, seemingly aware that public memory is short, we also treat these missives for what they are — lightweight, with no substance. The national elections, as polarised as they are, with so many people’s hopes riding on it is surprisingly lacklustre.
While candidates and their followers troll each other in public and social media, in the blur of “he said she said”, one misses the days of politicians of substance, even if one didn’t agree with their ideology. Even former prime minister VP Singh’s poetry, which we rolled our eyes at. Or Lalu Prasad Yadav’s wily machinations and witty one-liners. And former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s impressive oratory.
Maybe the fault also lies with us, the people. Instead of WhatsApp forwards and memes, if we spent time reading hefty political analysis and asked the right questions, politicians trying to curry favour would not be able to obfuscate issues. If you can’t convince them, confuse them, seems to be the mantra, with parties trying to cash in on being in the news for the day. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav even made an Avengers reference, saying the “endgame” had begun for his political rival. Of course, the statement caught eyeballs.
A plea to candidates: Instead of simply trolling each other, how about indulging in some serious debate? Or maybe next time, the politicians could be locked up in the Bigg Boss house, with “Bhai” and anchor Salman Khan (or Raj Thackeray?) taking their class on weekends, pulling them up for “unparliamentary language”. Maybe it could work?
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