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Survival of the better

Ananya S Guha

Coming to power by the ballot is one thing. The people of  India always respects the verdict. But throwing yourself to destabilize state governments  ruled by another party, central or regional is the height of intolerance. And that is what is happening in Kerala in the name of yatra. That this is of malicious intent is not far to see. We are now living in conditions, where might is right and anarchy is let loose anywhere in the name of religion, caste, politics or community. So Dalits cannot sport a moustache and cows cannot be used for economic benefit or as cattle.

The readings are clear. Mix religion with politics in such a manner that the fetish created affects the ordinary citizen. One group is empowered, if that is the word; the others feel ridiculously low and insecure. The clever ploy is to enter a political scene at any cost, debasing it in the process and muddle religion with politics. Forster was right: India is a muddle, but viciously so.  The targets? Minorities of any hue or shade, the open minded intellectuals, writers and of course the caste less. Hence muscle politics  takes the shape of mauling the weak, the poor, the non- caste Hindu and of course the Muslims, the Christians etc. But assailing the state of Kerala has added a new dimension to the murky politics. Kerala is known as a Leftist bastion, where three religions live peacefully and co exist in destiny making and economic development of the state. Throwing the Chief Minister of  Uttar Pradesh into the gauntlet has also nefarious designs. Isn’t he the saffron clad politician symbolizing the self righteousness of the times, and its macabre ideology? The symbols of the cow, the mother and the saffron infused into politics, is a desperate attempt not only to silence secular forces, but also divide the country on clear religious lines. And Kerala is the first laboratory experiment. The excuse that the Chief Minister of the largest state has been chosen as impresario is a warning of brute and muscle power. This is the heart land of the country. The mainland marginal dichotomy is given absolute legitimacy in the politics of the times. 

India now resembles a truncated country pleading for re unification. It’s fragments have shored winds, and it’s historical validity and moorings ruthlessly assailed. Then attack the liberated classes, social thinkers and writers, so that history of the country is rebuilt into new and golden eras. 

Economic prosperity is kowtowed as reality. Many argue it is a myth, with the present growth rate, farmer suicides, inflation, GST and demonetization, a sudden impetuous decision. But these cannot be questioned. Loan waivers have turned out to be specious gimmicks according to an NDTV report. 

The worry is what the future will tell us. Will the attempt to brow beat crystallize into more concerted protests? Or will all these be subsumed into a thunderous roar of  history?  Of course time will tell, as it always does but worrying are the actions which will continue to take place in its assault against secularism and egalitarian thought processes. Worrying also is what course education will take, as history is being slighted and feverishly rewritten. 

So we have portents at many multi- layered levels: politics, history, society, religion and a loosely held culture. Perhaps the people of India who have in past absorbed so many historical tremors, will absorb these as well, but certainly not without resultant movements. The electorate in the next hustings can surely reveal a mass intelligence. But that will happen if political greed and money power are pushed out of the repertoire of unethical politics. It is not only power politics, which is the issue, but that of survival of not the fitter, but the better. The better has to be viewed rationally. If once again corrupt forces come to power with dynastic ambitions things might again flounder. The point is the present change also came about because of disgust with preceding powers. Just mouthing  the splendid diversity of the country and then having corrupt people ruling will once again spell utter doom.

The spaces of liberty and free thinking must be complemented with clean administration. Can this happen? Right now if many feel this is an assault on democracy then we certainly have to look at democracy in its totality. Just  free speech is not enough; this must be backed by objectivity in all spheres and support for the poor and the economically  distressed. If there is a review of the GST we welcome it. The marginalized small businesses must not suffer. The total lack of dispassion in the body politic is a point of serious worry with mud- slinging aided by twitter handles ruling the roost. Education is not given the attention it deserves. Substituting skills development for education disparately will not be a solution. Skills development should be geared towards the employable, unorganized sector and certification. If certification and prior knowledge are matched, linked with vocational institutes then there will be a semblance of learning and education. This will link education with training. Simply rewriting text books is not an educational policy. It must be matched with skills learning and vocational training from schools onward to higher levels of such training.

Survival of the ‘ better’ will be in sum the quality of life, more employment and a little respite for the poor. This, backed by urgent call of democracy! Political killings, political desperation, mud- slinging are the hallmarks of retrogression.

 

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