Art of Political Idiocy or stupidity!

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(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)

Indian political leadership has mastered the art, more aptly, science of political idiocy or stupidity. How can otherwise one explain two MsoS, Rijju of Home Affairs, and former General V K Singh, making such idiotic or stupid statements totally insensitive to the already surcharged social environment particularly midway in the ongoing Bihar elections?

Today’s politicians are mercenaries; not true professionals to render services to society.

Instead of politics being meant to be a profession to render services to the people – peace, progress, prosperity and brotherhood – it has become a no-holds-barred power game in pursuit for power, perks and pelf. It is the only way to understand such a rank bad behavior.

If today’s politics have degenerated into the lowest possible low, even Modi, the Prime Minister, is equally responsible and accountable for it. For, Modi is responsible for selecting such immature and insensitive individuals as cabinet members of his team; and also failed to groom them to behave like responsible ministers even after 19 months.

Modi must sack defaulters unceremoniously. TINA (There is No Alternative) for Modi. Otherwise, Modi, as ‘Team India’ captain will be squarely blamed for further degeneration of politics to the meanest of levels – self destructive for not only the BJP but also the nation.

The more I reflect, the more I am convinced that politics is the worst curse for the nation – existential and escalating internal security threat concern. Ironic but true, that vicious is today’s game of politics – art or science.

If society is not steered on the right course, with do-or-die extremism in the air, destruction is inevitable as a nation if politics continue on its downward spiral due to uncontrolled mudslinging.

Let none suffer from any illusions on the above score including Congress Party hierarchy now claiming holier than thou status having created a mess in the nation.

Even a child knows that India is at the cross roads at a time of enormous change. Media is dramatically reshaping the course or curse of politics.  The nation has become increasingly polarized because of the debate over secularism and communalism, forward or lower castes, and the rich vs the poor.

De facto, Modi’s stoic silence in the Parliament over key issues is a stellar performance outscoring past Manmohan Singh’s record. Otherwise, Modi’s rock-star like performances during foreign tours and election rallies has developed an ‘aura’ of invincibility around his charisma.  Modi must realize that self delusion, ultimately, ends in self destruction.

After all, people cannot be fooled all the time. They too have brains to differentiate between the white, black and the grey in between them.

Leaders grandstanding over issues, pre poll promises in particular, promise the ‘moon’ to the people knowing full well that their fulfillment is virtually impossible.

Shamelessly and endlessly, leaders and political parties indulge in blatant exaggerations like eradicating poverty claiming to be champions of the poor and under privileged whilst enjoying grandiose life styles. Similarly, their claims of social and economic justice are a bogey. In particular, leader’s penchant for garnering pay, perks and privileges from time to time and living in glass houses in New Delhi and state capitals is phenomenal.

Political leaders of all sides are increasingly indulging in choicest abuses denigrating each other blatant lies and gross distortion of realities to gain media coverage and polarization on narrow sectarian lines.  Yet, leaders claim themselves to be most honorable and virtuous men in the service of the society and protectors of national security interests.

Indian media’s ability to elicit and amplify such idiocy or stupidity to sensationalize trivial events to lay claims or boast to be the media leaders is also highly immature and outlandish. But none of this is new.  Sensationalizing news is their sole concern if they have to remain competitive in their own field and survive. “Viral” spreads their media lamentations on the ‘social network’.

Why political leadership should provide such an opportunity to the media by making insensitive comments detrimental to national harmony, unity and brotherhood?

Having blamed the media running amok in the past, in retrospect, it is the political leadership which is the root cause for the tumultuous upheavals sweeping the social fabric of the nation.

Some parliamentarians are known for such acerbic performances. One can find them in all political parties. Some are blunt and poker faced; others may be sauve.

When debates on “Defense” or matters of great importance with attendance of visitors gallery empty, such know-all pseudo intellectuals keep mum or recuse themselves from the benches of parliament. When personal insults and rowdyism are expected, the house gets packed with “shouting or barking” brigades in action when personal insults and gibes are expected.

Grabbing attention and scoring points often rewarded new heights of hyperbole. As one observer remarked: “they love grandstanding of all kinds: the swaggering threat, the mocking taunt and the over-the-top insult.” They take frequent swings at opponents to remain in media limelight and relevant before their vote banks.

Polarized times may make grandstanding politically compulsive and expedient. They certainly invite it. But, there is a flip side to it. Whilst in opposition, it may pay dividends; but while in government, there are unacceptable political risks with escalating consequences. In the past, there have been many occasions when inflammatory speeches or off-the-cuff remarks have caused bloodshed.

After all, the long term consequences of political flame-throwing can be enormous like the destruction of “Babri Masjid” or “Operation Blue Star and Delhi anti Sikh riots”.

Given the need for attention, relevance and recognition, stupidity seems smart. It gets attention — but not without a price. In reaching for new heights of bunkum, these candidates are stoking the flames of extremism at a time when dialogue is desperately needed.

Wake up Modi before it is too late! Your credibility is at stake as a decisive leader to chart the future course of the nation.  Act now; and get punished at polls to perish sooner than later. And, the motor or rabid or loud mouth parliamentarians must be desisted from spouting stupidities with a swagger.

First, it must start with your own brood. If some among them cannot respond intelligently, let them not indulge in senseless swagger before the media insensitive to its ultimate fallout. A cabinet reshuffle is long overdue. 18 months is too long a period to identify shortcomings of your team and throw both the rabid and deadwood out. Also, start training sessions for your brood to manage the media more sensibly as hither to fore.

Otherwise, “We the People” are bound to teach a bitter lesson in the next outing.

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