Now that the UP elections has successfully delivered a slap on the faces of undeserving people and a pat on the back for lesser deserving people, I would like to bring in a point of view that has vanished between the brouhaha that has caught the attention of the literate, aware, urban Indian.
Firstly, the ousting of Mayawati came as a relief for me. At the risk of sounding like a Right-Wing fanatic, let me disclaim that I have absolutely no problems with Dalit emancipation. It is not difficult to understand that a community that has for ages immemorial been subdued politically, economically and culturally, sees a hero in Mayawati – the behenji who has made it big in the big, bad, world of Indian politics. That is all fine.
But when I speak to Dalit sympathisers about the huge amount of wealth that she has collected, and obscene flaunting of wealth (like the garland made of 1000 rupee notes), they have absolutely no answer. A garland of 1000 rupee notes in no way betters the situation of Dalits, nor does it ensure a greater participation in politics. If anything at all, it sends out a message to others “I have acquired huge amount of wealth. Come join in – it’s a free for all!”
I respect Mayawati for the different bastions that she has conquered, and when she won a fourth term in 2007, I sincerely felt she would be different from the ruling Samajwadi Party under Mulayam Singh. Five years down the line, things have gotten worse. Setting up parks and statues of Dalit leaders, bring in a sense of cultural pride -yes, but it does just that. Factors like education and employment bring in social respect, and one can only fantasise about the 2,500 crores being spent in building schools and colleges. Maywati, sadly, for all her efforts, will be remembered as the richest Chief Minister of the country – a mirror image of the class she fought all through her life.
The second bit of positive news was the terrible performance of Rahul Gandhi in the Assembly elections.
In Indian politics, being a Gandhi son is like being Sachin Tendulkar’s son in the BCCI room. I have tracked his career over the last years, and I must say I had hopes pinned on him till a few years back. He seemed sincere and honest – for eg, when the CBI had found that 4 of the last 5 terrorist attacks were co-ordinated by rightwing Hindutva groups, he was the only one to talk about Saffron Terror. He seemed like a sincere guy. But then, I am an Indian – it is easy to bullshit me, I guess.
When the UPA won the second term, I was hoping Rahul Gandhi would take up one of the key portfolios and work in the Cabinet of ministers. It would be a good place for him to learn the tricks of the trade, and a possible launching pad for his obvious Prime Ministerial ambitions. But I was shocked to see he didn’t take up any port folio.
It smacked of arrogance – to think that being born in the Gandhi family entitled you directly to the Prime Minister’s post. Over the last two years, Rahul Gandhi treaded the same, beaten path of other Indian politicians. His visits to Dalit houses – dressed in crisp, white kurtas and sneakers – pissed me off majorly.
However, the Palm was delivered a convincing slap on the face when the results were declared, faring badly even in traditionally Congress strongholds. I was curious to see what Rahul Gandhi would say after the defeat. This is what he had to say,
“Look, we haven’t done well in the whole of UP. I view my work as working for the poor of the country. My work shall continue.”
Well, stop bullshitting me, my friend. You are just another leader in the Congress party. If not for your genes, you might not have been there in the first place. And please stop using terms like ‘my work shall continue’. You’re not Mother Theresa, you are Son Gandhi. Drop the halo, please.
Now that I am done ranting about the positives of the elections, let me get to the bit with the false hope.
The word ‘change’ has been an integral part of our vocabulary ever since Barack Obama won his Presidential campaign. ‘Change the system’, ‘I want change’, ‘Change is good’ etc. are vague terms that don’t mean anything.
‘Change’ is again being talked about with Akhilesh Yadav becoming the new Chief Minister.
Sorry to break the news, my friends – this is hardly change at all.
For all the faults with Indian politics, nepotism is the worst disease. We have naturally come to accept that a politician’s son will become a politician too. It is the feudal Zamindari system all over again, and we see no problem with it.
I cringe when I see politicians’ sons paraded as the next hope for India. Sadly, all the so-called new faces of politicans are all sons of earlier politicians. The media has never seen this as a problem, instead calling it the new face of Indian politics. They clearly forgot the ‘r’ in between the word.
Samajwadi Party is the same party that rescued the Centre during the 123 Agreement, and brought people like Sanjay Dutt (a convicted criminal who has served an extensive jail term) to campaign for them in earlier elections. Even though Amar Singh has been kicked out of the party, I don’t see much changing, primarily because Akhilesh Yadav is the son of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Even in Punjab, Sukhbir Badal, the son of Prakash Singh Badal, has been hailed as the next hope.
But are we such a hopeless country that we accept sons of leaders as our leaders? Is it too much to ask for new faces, youngsters who have risen primarily on the basis of their work and experience??
So don’t go by the news headlines, my friends. One dynasty has been toppled, only to be replaced by another dynasty.
In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker defeated Darth Vader, who was actually his father. In real life, bullshit is recycled and handed over to us as ‘change’.
Eat, and make merry!