All is Fair in Love, War and Indian Politics

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi during the tribute paying ceremony for the martyrs of 2001 Parliament attack on its 16th anniversary, at Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo by Vijay Verma (PTI12_13_2017_000037B)

(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)

Had poet John Lyly been living in India today instead of 1579 when he coined “all is fair in love and war” in the novel “Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit”; he would have certainly given it a new twist “All is Fair in Love, War and Indian Politics”.

For example, the just concluded Karnataka State Assembly elections and the unending and ongoing murky happenings following the declarations of results.

More importantly and even more disturbingly is the mayhem of democracy in the West Bengal Panchayat elections that are harbinger of doom of democracy in India, if its rapid decay is not contained and marginalized expeditiously.

Yet another less publicized incident is the stone pelting/attack on Amit Shah’s convoy by Chandrababu Naidu goons at the foothill of Tirupathi.

In the case of West Bengal, President’s Rule must be imposed without dithering and procrastination. Otherwise, the Supreme Court must pro-actively take cognizance of the murder of democracy, and declare the results if announced by the State Election Commission as null and void. Finally, all those who vandalized the electoral process must be arrested and put in jail on non-bailable basis.

Next, in Karnataka none can deny that all political parties and leaders indulged in a variety of vicious games to somehow grab power  – money power (Rs.45 crores average expenditure in each constituency),  muscle power, fake ID cards, etc.

Yet another significant issue that needs to be reviewed is bipartisan  media’s role in Karnataka elections.  Clearly obvious, on one side,  is the slant or twist favoring the Congress Party by Arun Poorie of India Today and Prannoy Roy of NDTV assisted by almost all their editors and sub editors, particularly likes of Rahul Kanwal, Rajdeep Sardesai, Raj Chengappa, Nidhi,  etc.

On the other side are the teams of Republic TV and Times of India with Arnab Goswami ably assisted by new faces, and Rahul Shivsankar, Navika Kumar, Anand Narasimhan etc? Other TV channels attempted to play a via media but they too shifted their coverage as per developments taking place from time to time.

Viewed from national security interests, all of them were in the forefront of perpetuating and advancing societal divide on highly volatile basis. Will they ever realize their responsibility claiming to be champions of freedom of expression? It is high time that they must realize that freedom sans responsibility can be disastrous not only for themselves but also for democracy and the nation.

Let me reproduce of extracts of my earlier articles on the course or path being traversed in Indian politics.

“Politics is power; power is politics. Let none suffer from illusions on such a count. It is a vicious game played by contestants in ruthless pursuit of power. No rules. No place for weak kneed. “Politics and ideals and morals do not go together. Lenin stated “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience.” Indian politicians have demonstrated that they are wily practitioners of Lenin’s prescriptions.

“Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels (William Pit and Samuel Johnson); and, “Politics is the last resort for the scoundrels” (George Bernard Shaw). How can ‘scoundrels’ turn into ‘Angels” on assuming power!” So, idealists are hypocrites to expect the impossible.

“Kleptocrats on all sides, pretending to be democrats in service of society, are in pursuit of power.  On grand display is the kleptocratic influence (government with corrupt leaders on both sides) whose sole preoccupation is to exploit the people and natural resources – iron ore, real estate, liquor barons (Vijay Mallya in exile) etc – in order to extend their personal wealth and political power.”

“Politicians are mostly megalomaniac, congenital liars and ego-centric craving consistently for accretion of power, pelf and privileges. Either, they are intellectually dishonest or bankrupt; masters at opportunistic and cynical exploitation of environment for personal aggrandizement. They excel in vendetta, conspiracy, witch hunt and hate-games; and indulge in jingoistic rhetoric exciting emotions and sentiments feeding frenzy that produce polarizing effect on captive audiences. Politicians justify their dramatic changes or shifts in ideals, ideologies, ethics, morals and values due to dynamic changes in environment.” Thus, the steep decline in political morality is a reality.

“Democracy is a “rich-man’s game what with money and muscle power governing poll outcomes. Democracy promotes and perpetuates intrigue, treachery and corruption that involves distrust, dislike, biter partisanship; and dishonest and hate filled acrimony and rivalry. Distraction, deception and disruption are the tactics of politics and politicians to gain strategic ends – power by hook or crook.” Thus, those who follow the rules of game of democracy based on ethics, morals and values are fools.

“Politicians say something today; say something diametrically opposite at the drop of a coin as per situational content and context. Politicians promise people to believe in things that don’t exist and offer to make policies as if they were real; but they shift the blame for effective implementation on others. Politicians either delude themselves or insult people’s intelligence by resort to catchy “slogans’.”

“Politicians excel in destructive criticism for the sake of criticism particularly whilst in opposition. They do not believe in constructive or creative or pragmatic criticism.”

“Negative state of politics plunges nations and societies in permanent or perpetual turmoil and crisis; and institutions defaced and destroyed. In India’s pluralist society, it promotes divisiveness on narrow sectarian lines. Forging consensus is for namesake only. In democracy, political and social gridlock is inevitable – perpetual paralysis. Unity in democracy is, therefore, anathema – with politics dividing society angrily on narrow parochial and sectarian lines.” No need for external enemies to disintegrate India; internal enemies, lurking around every corner, are gnawing away at the vitals of India.

However, one must always keep in mind that “One Week is too long a time in Indian Politics” and a single event can turn the opinion polls upside down, what to predict its influence on 2019 elections. Such is the highly opportunistic political maneuvering by all sides.

Holistically viewed in the above observations made from time to time, bleak appears the future of democracy in India.

Just like authoritarianism and populism sweeping the Western nations, particularly the USA as the Champion and advocate of democracy, none should rule out the possibility of such scenario enveloping modern India.

After all, China under Xi Jinping heading the pack of “Lions” of single party CCP Rule has proved that their system of governance is better than democracy to ensure peace vital for progress and prosperity.

In sum, “All is fair in love, war and politics” is real. So, time is up for people of India to give a decisive mandate to strengthen the resolve of a “Leader” to pursue ruthlessly advancement of national security interests with focus on poverty alleviation. Fractured verdicts, otherwise, will inevitably pave the way for disintegration of modern India.