Looking into the divisive nature of politics in India and analysing who exactly are the winners and losers as a result of it.
No doubt that politics in this country is toxic. It is tainted with corruption, hate, communalism, and principles that strongly contradict the values of our constitution. The negative light that politics is seen in is obvious in the way that political remarks are made in hushed tones and only within the confines of certain ‘safe’ spaces.
India is a culturally rich country and its richness shows in the opinions held by its citizens too. Despite the negative light that politics is seen in, it is still common for people to engage in discourse and debate on matters of politics, even if it remains within certain ‘echo chambers’ and a result of this is the extremely divided state of politics. It has become too easy to classify and humiliate people by putting them into one of the two categories or labels. The ‘bhakt’ or supporter of the government of Prime Minister and the ‘liberal’ or one that does not. These tags, however, come with a whole host of stereotypes and assumptions that are made about these people, for instance, a ‘bhakt’ would have to have blind faith and no mind of their own, propagate hatred and incite violence and suppress speech against the government while a ‘liberal’ must be a ‘card-carrying Communist’ or be on the Congress payroll and serve no other purpose than furthering the message of the ‘anti-national’, ‘tukdre tukdre gang’.
In all of this name-calling and humiliation of the ‘other side’, we often forget that in this endless trolling and hatred, there is not, and will never be a winner. We are all losers. Being all ‘woke’ and sharing our ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘revolutionary’ ideas in the same echo chambers that we always do, serves no greater purpose to politics as a whole since we still refuse to interact with those who hold opposing views, writing them off as ‘bhakts’ or ‘liberals’. Are we such fragile snowflakes that we can’t bear to hear an opinion that we do not necessarily agree with? Or are we too insecure and used to adhering to one opinion that the possibility of perhaps having a change of heart is a nightmare?
Of course, you have every right to block out a person or group you deem to be toxic or do not respect the value of an intellectual discussion. I am not asking you to invite Hitler to your next ‘MUN’ and try to reason with him, but what we do need is for people to take their opinions and engage in discussions outside groups that agree with everything they say and perhaps have a change of mind. Either extreme is toxic and compromise and incorporating ideas from different parts of the political spectrum is what we need.
Finally, while we bicker and call names, who is the winner? The winner, of course, is not among us. The winners are the politicians who only demonize the other side faction and their supporters and incite the hatred, intolerance and trolling. The same ‘divide and rule’ the British used to suppress Indians is alive today, for while we are caught up fighting each other and being intolerant, we can never unite and call out politicians for their incompetence. Perhaps the Delhi elections were a sign that the country is waking up to this reality with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who campaigned almost completely on divisive politics, facing defeat. So, the next time you go on an Instagram rant about how stupid ‘bhakts’ or ‘liberals’ are and how woke you are, remember that you aren’t winning.
Featured Image Credits: WUSF News
Tashi Dorjay Sherpa