Politically Outrageous

Politics as experienced by a Common Man – Part I

I’m a common man like the rest of you. As a common man, and common men collectively, power is supposed to rest with us: the electorate. However, due to excessive accumulation of power with the few, the power is wrested from us by the democratically repeatedly elected few who claims to represent the people: his constituents.

My source of news relating to politics (I will not use the word ‘governance’ as it is distinct from ‘politics’ but often goes hand-in-hand with one another) is primarily the media: the necessary and uncurtailed/unabridged evil of our times with self assumed moral authority for deciding who’s right and who’s wrong and almost always, who’s guilty and who’s not. People who care more about TRPs, sensationalism and punch words than decency and truth. If only the press could do their reporting under oath. To quote Roger Ailes’ (founder of Fox News and media consultant for President Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr.) famous The Orchestra Pit Theory: “If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, “I have a solution to the Middle East problem,” and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?” (We’ll talk about this in a different article) But I digress. Print media, news channels and these days, social media play a vital role in reporting news and due to my excessive interest in keeping currency in world affairs, I read newspaper in the morning, watch news channels and browse social media for news from reliable and respectable media organisations since these days on social media, websites posing news media are known to be spewing propaganda material, targeted misinformation and hoaxes based on their political leanings and this seems to be disrupting the proper and fair reporting of news leading to, in the words of President Trump: “FAKE NEWS!”

For those who understands politics, or knows politics but cannot quite define it due to its abstract and complicated nature, let me define it for you since many acts can be described than defined as politics. Politics (from Politika in Greek meaning ‘affairs of the cities’ – the term ‘cities’ are used since during the Greek Civilization ‘states’ were cities known as ‘City-States’ wherein Athens, Sparta, Argos Delphi., etc. Now, naturally with globalisation, politics is more globalised with cause-and-effect of political acts lies elsewhere) can be defined in various ways. One definitions goes this way: “the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power”.Another definition runs thus: “activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power within an organization”.Yet another definition suits the term quite aptly: “a particular set of political beliefs or principles.”Though definitions are innumerable, it is impractical to go on listing them in this article as you get the drift. You can now not only describe politics but also define its nature. For the purpose of this article let’s stick to meaning of politics as these three mentioned above wherever context may serve or require accordingly.

Now, to be fair, I may or may not as political as some readers who may read this. I’m political to the extent I want to be. Words expressed here in this article are my opinions published under right to freedom of expression of my beliefs without prejudice to anything or anyone. To people who care and to some extent understand, I’m a right-wing socialist. My political inclinations are not private and I’ll make myself abundantly clear about that. My political opinions change as I think believing in something once its no longer practical to do so is quite foolish.

I’m an advocate of law by profession. Politics and law complement each other in formulation and enactment of legislations. It is due to my immense fascination, and inevitable interaction between law and politics that caught my interest in the subject of politics. I’ll even illustrate this with an example: Recently, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of my state, chairing the SC/ST Committee of the Department of Social Welfare, directed the transport authorities of my state to issue free bus passes to the students belonging to the SC/ST community. Here’s where I believe politics played a role in arriving at this controversial scheme: Its election time in under 10 months and my Chief Minister is resorting to vote-bank politics, that is, appeasement of the backward classes for the sake of votes. Now one might wonder what’s wrong with the scheme. It’s quite simple: Art.14 of the Constitution – Equality before the law. Why is it that only these communities are to be the beneficiaries of the said scheme? If my Hon’ble Chief Minister did really want to bestow his generous welfare scheme to uplift the SC/ST student community, why did he not do it in the past 4 years? The timing is suspicious and controversial with election time around the corner. The intent seems to be more than just for the welfare of the said student community but more about caste-and-vote-politics. Such blatant acts of abuse of executive power is a direct assault on the constitutional ethos of equality before the law and insult to the very principles on which this country was fought for and founded. This is just one of countless illustrations where politics and governance abuse the law to obliterate constitutional principles.

Common people go on about our lives without giving things like these much thought as these are of little significance to anyone but the beneficiaries of the scheme but the implications are profound and dangerous. To elaborate, say for the sake of argument, SC/ST student of class 8 is given a free bus pass and a student who’s not from SC/ST community, is by law, is not eligible for the same under the scheme. The poisonous seed of caste differentiation is sown in the mind of a child. Is it really required to differentiate between kids at such young age? Why not all students have a free bus pass irrespective of their caste or community? Wouldn’t that further the sense of social equality than just one community benefit from this draconian law? When the constitution is striving towards equality in the society, it is our politicians playing politics desperately to remain in power for 5 more years. Equality is not sufficient to remain just on paper. It should be taught to children from a tender age. Discrimination starts in the mind and that is where it must be fought. Politics must not get in the way of personal development by sowing the seeds of divisiveness for the sake of few votes. Constitutional values are greater than votes, its the country’s ideal for its citizens. Only by practicing equality can we attain it; not by twisting the meaning of equality for self-serving political gains. Once a politician gets elected, he tries the remainder of his term to not serve his constituents but to get elected for yet another term. The motive is largely self-serving than serving his constituents. It is not sufficient that we aspire towards the goals and lofty ambitions set forth in our Constitution, we must try to implement it. Live it. Teach it. These are the only ways that we can grow as a society so as to become a society of the equals, for the equals and by the equals. One cannot possibly expect to uplift one community by using divisive politics as a tool to further political motives. We deserve more and expect more than this from our leadership. We’re a democracy where the power rests with common man and not a oligarchy. I’m not sure if this controversial scheme by my government with withstand judicial scrutiny – checks and balances, you see. One thing I’m certain of: this move has proved to be hugely unpopular for the reason that this scheme was passed with political ulterior motive. In any case, we’ll know the people’s mandate of this government in a few months’ time. After all, school kids cannot vote and those who can and will vote are thoroughly antagonised by this appeasement politics played in the name of welfare. People are not blind and is it especially wrong to assume that people will digest anything you throw at them once you are in power. You are in power as long as people wish you to remain there. We’re all equal. We’re all the Master.

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