Politics is getting to be unethical and anti-national, a kind of “hit-below-the-belt” game.
Long years ago, the brilliant social scientist, Ashis Nandy, quipped that politics in India was for those who could find no other livelihood. In other words, it was a profession for those unwelcome elsewhere.
Nothing can be truer than this of India’s politics today. At least, to a very large extent.
The profession has for a long time been freely attracting members of the society’s underbelly. The list now includes forgers – apart from murderers, kidnapers and what have you.
Two days ago, 64 members of India’s parliament (MP) were said to have signed a letter addressed to American President Barack Obama urging him to continue with the policy of denying a visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
(Washington had refused Modi a visa citing “violations of religious freedom” during his first tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister when the State saw horrible communal riots, which left thousands of Muslims dead. This was in 2002. )
However, many of the MPs have denied signing the letter. Their signatures have been forged, they alleged.
Leading MPs such as Achutan from the Communist Party of India and Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxists) have vehemently denied that they signed the letter. So have some MPs from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party.
It is possible that Modi’s detractors and enemies – alarmed over the prospect of him becoming India’s next prime minister on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket – have resorted to such a dirty political game.
As I have written earlier, Modi has a bright chance of leading the nation after the elections. His chances can get brighter if the Congress, now in power at New Delhi, continues with its dynastic tendencies, ignoring leaders like the present Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, who can at least give Modi a run for the seat. Otherwise, the Gujarat Chief Minister may well saunter into the Prime Minster’s office.
In the meantime, Modi bashing seems to be gathering hurricane strength.
The Firstpost, analysing a poll conducted by the CNN-IBN and The Hindu, published a headline which seemed sensational and certainly anti-Modi.
Quoting P Sainath (The Hindu’s Rural Affairs Editor), one of the panelists who had discussed the poll results, the heading read: “Narendra Modi, the biggest PR con of our time”.
Incidentally, Sainath’s statement appears somewhere in the middle of the long article, and I remember my first editors at The Statesman telling me to avoid writing a headline which appeared slanted or picking up one from a point in the middle or end of a story.
But then who cares for journalism today. Everything has to have a selling point. Terming Modi a con is eyeball grabbing.
Be that as it may, the Indian political scenario is getting murkier all right, and I cannot but help recalling Nandy’s words uttered a long time ago.
Politics is getting to be unethical and anti-national, a kind of “hit-below-the-belt” game. Imagine stooping to an extent that a letter with some forged signatures is written/sent to a foreign head of state in order to discredit a top Indian political leader.
In the process, India stands disgraced.
Gautaman Bhaskaran is India Editor of FMT, and Chennai-based author, columnist and movie critic. He may be emailed at[email protected]