Why do Indians love pain?
The recent elections in India have made me think about how the ‘democracies’ of the world operate and why is it that we (in India) are so afraid of change!
In my opinion, India has just lost an excellent opportunity to change history and re-write the future developments in India.
The collective psyche of ‘Indians’ loves pain and cannot dream of being a progressive, forward thinking society because people so want to stick to what they know and not change!
The years 2011/2012 brought in a new consciousness of yearning for an honest corruption free politics in India. Not so much ‘new consciousness’, but more of finding a leader who was willing to raise a voice against the might of Indian politicians ruling the land! People like Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare came to the fore-front and led millions of people to believe that they could finally get rid of the dynastic leaders who have ‘ruled’ India behind the facade of a ‘democracy’. People were ’so wrong’. Despite these rallies and gatherings drawing in millions of people, the might of the ruling class had been under-estimated. The rich politicians of both major parties ganged up, with their control of media empires to discredit the movement and malign the names of its main leaders, in a very well organised Propagandist style. The masses seem to have taken the bait and shifted loyalties again!
The ruling elite, whether it be the Congress or the BJP are the Royalty of India, comparable to any of the monarchies in Europe – in their wealth and following. The following for the royalty in the western world is more nostalgic or a harmless desire to keep them in place as a means of bring in tourist revenue for the state, whereas Indian following of the ruling elite families is more out of ignorance and sometimes a sad tale of bowing to them because of the muscle power the rich in India are able to display – a form of slavery! Several politicians in the recent years holding the lead positions in the major parties either come from a very rich ancestry or have the blessings of super-rich industrialist families in India.
Every election in India since the independence has been marred with violence and dirty use of muscle power to silence anyone who dares speaks against the established governments in all parts of India. the sad truth is that the far-flung parts of India are so remote that many news worthy stories from these regions do not even reach the national media. Many of these regions are so under-developed that the natives do not even know of the governments in the country’s capital, as they have never travelled out of their states of birth. News of the national progress rarely travels to these parts of the country. The intelligentsia and the social activists, apart from some rare occasions, seem to have abandoned them. You may hear a lonely voice trying to be heard on rare occasions from these regions, but they have always been subdued by branding them as violent naxalites and Maoists! In the more newsworthy states of India, standing in elections as an Independent candidate has been a sign of courage to stand upto the ‘despotic rulers’. I am sure there would be thousands of families throughout India who can tell of stories of people trying to stand up for truth and honesty with many having been mowed down dead, in manycases in front of witnesses too fearful to come forward. Who would they come forward and speak to? The police and the justice system is all complicit in this tyranny. This is how the repression of the people has occurred in the rural India for the last 67 years!
As a country with 1.2 billion people and a very miniscule proportion of it controlling several industries and commercial sectors and influencing and controlling media and politics, it has been very easy to distort the news that goes out to the world and also to the country’s own cosmopolitan capitals! Don’t forget many of these Indians regularly rank amongst the WORLD’S richest people!
Even in the 21st century Delhi, if a westerner lands for the very first time, they would be amazed at the sights of the capital city. The absolute chaos on the roads, the inefficiency of the public offices, the constant mocking and abuse of the weak, the disabled and the poor in public, businesses that flout all laws of the land on a daily basis, safety of the workers on the roads and factories and almost every industry sector, inefficiency of the justice system, blatant bribery of the police and government officials, hygiene on the streets and food halls of India, the list of things that make my blood boil goes on! Part of this is due to the huge population that this land supports and tries to accommodate, but majority of it is because of the failure of all the governments this country has had to establish a coherent system of education and governance which works for its people! So much so that many people have become so accustomed to it that they have accepted it as ‘their lot’ and do not want to change because they know how to find their way around it and are happy to ‘stick with it’! As an outsider, I find it painful to even watch the news channels on Indian TV or read the Indian newspapers. It feels that the news items are presented on TV as a Bollywood drama with no authenticity checks or storyline formation. The mainstream popular print media is equally woeful, apart from a very small handful of publications.
Come 2013! Out of the non-political and non-violent social-activist led movements for a corrupt free governments originated a political force with a quirky name – the ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ (The Common Man’s Party). Its leader/founder – Mr Arvind Kejriwal, a small time social activist who had been fighting his small battles against corruption and poor governance in various parts of the country. He had been honoured with awards for his social work, but nobody knew of the force he was to become! After the national media’s collusion with the influential politicians to discredit the movements of 2011/2012, this party was launched as the only means to bring to fruition the desire of the people for an honest government! It started gathering force and following. The leaders of the main parties were still mocking the party leader as a maverick who will get nowhere! The wake-up call came when the party won an unprecedented number of seats for a party of less than 1 year old and ousted the 3 time Delhi CM and was able to form a hesitant coalition government in Delhi. This was such a shock to the established parties that they resorted to their old dirty tactics to destabilise using negative propaganda style media stories and television telecasts. When tis began to affect the efficient running of the government in its desire to root out the malpractices of past governments, the new CM of Delhi took a bold step to resign hoping for a re-election in future election to come back with a majority and perform the tasks without the childish and obstructive policies of the coalition partners.
This decision also coincided with the onslaught of mammoth General Elections to the lower house of the Indian Parliament in 2014. This party, full of confidence, hoped to spread its desire of a corruption free politics to the whole of India. Despite all good intentions, it was an act of political naivety as the party structures and consolidation policies were not fully in place yet. Despite going ahead and taking on the established parties all over India and filing the highest number of candidates of all political parties in the country, the party was not able to convert its enlightened thinking and new fresh approach to politics into seats in the parliament. It only won 4 seats out of 543 seats in this massive land of many languages and disparate regions, but it has left an undeniable mark on all regions, which it should capitalise on and build its base in the future years. Many incidents of violence and practices of vote rigging, manipulation of EVM (Electronic Voting Machines) have gone un-noticed and lost in the various other controversies. Despite the fact that many of these incidents may have affected the voting numbers and leads gained by certain candidates, the accepted result remains that this party’s message did not reach the right number of people. The core of Indian politics remains rotten with same faces back in the parliament who have been there before. With constantly changing loyalties within parties and winning candidates to affect the formation of governments is a ritual only performed in India to this extent. I am sure some loyalties vary over time with specific policies elsewhere, but in India it is so blatant that they are only done to influence the power balance. It makes me sick to see that the masses have failed to notice this shameful side of the politics for the last 67 years.
Although the new party was young and still finding its feet, the heart of the party was in the right place and the intentions of bringing in positive ethics, to offer transparency and good governance in all public offices, to bring in the right approach to communal harmony amongst the huge plethora of communities within the country has been overlooked and bulldozed by the monstrous monolithic machinery of corrupt capitalist power. The fear is that the winning party has at its core a very extreme right which almost has the right to veto its policies that do not serve its interests. The winning party has also to help back the big industrial power houses which backed these elections, Quid pro quo, which will further affect the less well off in society as the economic gap widens. A distinction and a special case needs to made here about how capitalist greed mixed with extreme corruption and inefficient governments has made life a misery for millions in the Indian context, and may continue to do during this parliament unless there is a vigilant opposiion!
For these reasons, India needs to rise to the challenge and support the new voice, which is the little voice that has always been there in the heart of thousands of millions of Indians during their youth, but it has now got buried so deep that it is finding hard to come out and be heard! The voice that said – “I wish someone could stand upto these corrupt and power hungry leaders, who have made mine and my loved ones’ lives a misery for the last 67 years.” Now is your chance! Still!
Yes, I do support the AAP party and expect them to be a force majeure within the term of this parliament!