The opposition parties alliance, named as "INDIA," has been stitched together with the same old, tattered faces, tainted to the hilt, dyed with a lack of integrity, devoid of morality and truth, but unwilling to give up their lust for power for themselves and their tainted progeny. A section of the media, tainted and colored by the same ideals, dubbed this coming together a "masterstroke," writes former IAS officer V.S. Pandey.
Now, "India Vs. Bharat" is the predominant discourse. For several decades, our political class has kept on inventing newer ways of befooling the people. It began with exploiting the caste divide, reservation issues, followed by religion, language, and region. The Britishers, who were outsiders, needed the "Divide and Rule" policy to keep their stranglehold on an alien country intact. But after self-rule for nearly 75 years, why do our "brown sahibs" need the selfsame British tactics to usurp power? This is the big question that needs to be answered by those who claim to be politicians and claim to be serving the janata only. In reality, they are only serving their petty selfish interests.
After exploiting every fault line, now they are at it again. All those who have been stabbing each other's backs and fighting fierce battles amongst themselves have decided to come together to recapture power to perpetuate their lies and deceit and exploit whatever is still unexploited - now it is the name of our nation, INDIA.
Hence, the alliance named INDIA had to be stitched together with the same old, tattered faces, tainted to the hilt, dyed with a lack of integrity, devoid of morality and truth but unwilling to give up their lust for power for themselves and their tainted progeny. A section of the media, tainted and colored by the same ideals, dubbed this coming together a "masterstroke." This kind of proclaimed "masterstroke" has regularly failed electorally. But there is none to question why humungous wipeouts happened consequentially to proclaimed 'masterstrokes' in previous electoral battles?
This proclaimed INDIA "masterstroke" had to be countered politically. It is now BHARAT vs. INDIA. It was inevitable. Our political class is so bereft of ideas, delivery, and action that rhetorical slogans, songs, names, and forms are the only substantives to cling on to in their ruthless quest for power. If political parties, who have been in power for decades in states and at the federal level, have only caste, creed, religion, language, region, names, and forms to cling on to, it is a very sad reflection on our society and our citizenry.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote, "A person cannot do right in one department whilst attempting to do wrong in another department. Life is one indivisible whole." How profound these words are. Those looking at the current state of our political discourse need to remember this dictum always. It is almost impossible to find salient public figures who have been consistent with ethical conduct and actions over a period of time. Almost all, barring a minuscule minority, are mired in direct corruption and scandals. So there is no hope from such leaders as their tainted deeds make them totally compromised and very fearful of CBI, ED, etc. They are in no position to take any stand on right or wrong. Those who are not corrupt do not act as they are selfishly absorbed in retaining power. They willfully shut their eyes towards wrongdoings around them but ironically proclaim that they are "honest" all the while allowing looters to have their way. With the political landscape in our country teeming with such unprincipled leaders, politics will remain mired in caste, creed, religion, black money, and untruths, and falsities will define their lack of governance.
Ultimately, it boils down to whether politics is based on principles or not. Unfortunately, in our country, politics is bereft of principles in every political outfit. The consequences are before us. Billions are spent by politicians and political parties on their publicity to spread a false narrative to befool we, the people.
So we are back to square one – with caste, religion, language, region, and now name-calling – BHARAT/INDIA after seventy-five years. What about crores of people living in abject conditions struggling for eking out their existence? What about the pathetic education system devoid of any quality? Is anybody talking about the rotting public health delivery system – lying on its death bed and gasping for oxygen? Why is there no public discourse about the unemployment scenario in our country with more than forty crore able-bodied persons in search of nonexistent jobs? Now, some misguided leaders have started calling for the eradication of Sanatan Dharam with no clue what “Dharam” means itself. Our political ethos, totally devoid of ethics, truth, morality, has only one goal – get votes literally by hook or by crook – create divisive slogans, utter lies, misguide people, spread falsehood, promote discord/hatred/divisions to serve their selfish interest. The deleterious consequences on society are apparent to all but them. A well-spun theory, some misguided self-proclaimed reformers/intellectuals with a tunnel view of the past and present to buttress their logic – execute the nefarious agenda of capturing power in the name of emancipation of the ignorant masses. The living conditions of at least a hundred crore people in our country remain abysmal, but who cares?
It is the responsibility of every citizen to understand the rot that has set in our political ecosystem and take steps to eradicate it - at the earliest. Politicians do not make a country; vigilant citizens are the key to democracy and prosperity. Let us not evade our responsibility but act to make our country proud again minus corruption, inequality, discrimination, and poverty. Justice for all, social, economic, and political should be the norm, and only righteous governance can ensure it.
(Vijay Shankar Pandey is a former Secretary Government of India)