In the run up to general elections, India’s political arena reflects a nudist colony without mirrors. There is huge competition over heaping abuse and dirty comments on opponents without looking within. Caste, creed, religion, family background, lineage, upbringing are being played to the hilt. Even Gods are not spared. Political heavyweights spew pearls of wisdom. One guy proclaims Lord Hanuman (devotee of Lord Rama) is Dalit. Dalit represents ethnic groups in India that were kept depressed by subjecting them to untouchability; excluded from the four-fold varna system of Hinduism and were seen as forming a fifth varna, also known by the name of Panchama – as described in Wikipedia.
The research of dalit-origin of Hanuman has upset the dame who heads the political party based on dalits, who feels her turf is being encroached. As a young girl, she gave up pursuit of a civil service career when she discovered her two-bit politician mentor travelled to Tokyo for heart bypass on government expense.
The country is riddled with caste, religion and reservations – all on account of vote-bank politics of political parties. Incredibly rich continue to enjoy ‘reservations’ in perpetuity – and so do their progeny; with relaxed norms for securing jobs, including low pass percentages. The net effect is more the reserved category; lower the standards across the board. The President of India incidentally is a dalit.
An erudite political heavyweight calls Prime Minister Modi incarnation of Lord Shiva and terms Indian Army as “Modi Ji Ki Sena”. Political pundits refer to Indian army as Hanuman. The sum total leaves the army flabbergasted; if army soldiers are Hanuman and Hanuman is dalit, then why is the government going overboard in denigrating and degrading them, when all political parties are out to woo dalit votes, or for that matter every other vote? Why India’s Ministry of Defence and the woman defence minister are working against the interest of armed forces and their families (https://news4masses.com/mha-vis-a-vis-mod-time-for-national-leadership-to-take-note/).
Political parties allot tickets on basis of castes, some are sold-bought (shhh) – hey who paid how much? Liquid cash in crores of rupees is seized every other day across political parties. Approaching elections is best time to switch party. It doesn’t matter whether you were denied an election ticket or the next one assures same; crossover means positive gain. All political parties are flush with money. One can stand for elections even from jail. Forget, criminal charges, an individual ‘jailed’ for less than two years can contest elections.
Election promises are galore albeit a Union Minister referring to the 2014 elections promises clarifies these were “just promises”. The report of 2018 UNHDR says 77.5% Indian workers are under vulnerable employment. India ranked 103 among 119 countries on Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2018. Ironically, India also tops the world in malnutrition amongst children, with nearly 151 million children aged fewer than five too short for their age due to malnutrition in 2017, compared to 165 million in 2012. Everyone exploits power of the media – remember John Swinton, former chief of staff of New York Times, talking of intellectual prostitution?
Goodies are announced periodically, with public wondering why can’t there be elections every year. But the system of ‘taking from Peter, and give it to Paul’ fools voters; oblivious that there are no government-funded schemes, only tax-payers money funded. How much of the promised relief reaches those who actually deserve the same is another ambiguity. For example, there is slew of pseudo farmers who evade taxation and secure bank loans. It is amusing to see photo-ops of politicians trying their hands in fields with farmers, some arriving by helicopter. There are others arriving in SUV cavalcades to get photographed sharing a meal with the poor.
China demographically overwhelmed Tibet and Pakistan did same in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). India’s first Prime Minister Nehru foolishly introduced Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) as temporary measure giving it special status, which continued ever since. Now a woman politicians is declaring that if Article 370 is tampered with, J&K will decide whether to stay with India; as if J&K belongs to her late pop who as Union Home Minister organized the abduction of his other daughter to get some terrorists released from jail. She is going ballistic being in bed with the POK-based terrorist group Hizbul Mujihideedn.
India has 2075 political parties; seven national parties, 24 recognized at state level and 2044 unrecognized. Becoming a lawmaker implies assured riches for few generations, even if you attend office-parliament once and don’t visit your constituency after being elected. Foreign trips by lawmakers are periodic under pretext of studying-observing something. There is authorized medical tourism also; any politician/bureaucrats or spouse with one attendant can go abroad for medical treatment – all expenses including air travel, stay and medical borne by government.
Winning/losing parliamentary elections don’t matter as backdoor entry via nomination to Rajya Sabha is open, Many important portfolios in current government are with politicos who didn’t win election. The lawyer who lost his deposit fighting elections in 2014 was given the Defence and Finance ministries. So the farce of democracy will continue. This time electioneering is more vicious since India went up for sale when anonymous foreign funding for elections was legalized that public can’t even question.
Prakash Katoch is third generation army officer hailing from Himachal Pradesh. He is former Lieutenant General from Special Forces and post-retirement has published over 2100 articles on international affairs, geopolitics, military, security, technical and topical issues besides authoring two books. He is active in seminars at both national and international levels.