Friday, 12 July 2013

Divide and Rule?

It was a very pleasant day in my city yesterday. No sun, just a layer of clouds, a gentle breeze and a slight drizzle outdoors. All in all, I was having a pretty good day when my Dad asked me to watch the Newshour Debate with him. As everyone must be well aware, this show is hosted by the great and all powerful, people-empowering journalist, Arnav Goswani. That’s when my very peaceful day started going vertically downhill.

No, no, come on, it’s not always his fault. This time it was the panelists who made me jump out of my comfy sofa and scream at the very least three very horrible obscenities at the television screen before realizing that my mother was in the middle of her dinner. She looked at me sternly, but then she understood what was going on in my head and turned to face the television again.

This was nothing short of a miracle, that she hadn't said anything to my swearing at the dinner table. But she was worried and so were my Dad and I. What was happening on the debate was very unnerving. We listened in silent disgust as spokespersons from all the major political parties in India spoke eloquently in favour of the Caste system in India – in the 21st century, mind you. They all backed up each other in saying that this revolting system was very old and ingrained into the minds of the people.

On the charge that was leveled against them of promoting caste based division to garner votes, they all refused vehemently but also urged that caste was there to stay, however evolved India would get and whatever ruling the Supreme court made. One of the panelists, I believe said:

“Jaati kabhi Jaati nahi” which means, “Caste never goes away”.

Today, every party claims to be secular. The ones who demolish mosques, the ones who burn churches, the ones who instigate the rivalries between groups, the ones who promote inter-caste violence and those who indulge in caste politics. Every Politician today is supposedly secular but the Public is not. That is what the leaders of the people have to say. Apparently, it is not they who are playing caste politics, it is the people, who are stupid and divide themselves among castes.

I’m not saying that they are completely to blame, nor am I saying that they are solely to be blamed. After all, we are all smart enough to gauge what is right and wrong. We have the ability to think and evaluate what is best for ourselves and our country.

Why then do we allow such opportunistic politicians take advantage of our gross stupidity in broad daylight?

Why then do we not caste our vote for something better?

Why not vote for results in development rather than our own group or caste or religion or sect?

Why bring down the future of the country for selfish motives?

Why not understand for once, this ‘Game of Thrones’?

These are the questions that haunt me as I lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling… fearing for my country and my people.

I had written a post along the similar lines on the matter of caste being in the forefront of people's imagination. You can read it here.

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