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Whither Dignity, Decorum, Decency?


(By Ashok Tankasala)

The one question that has been galling to the thoughts of thinking
people in the recent weeks is’ whither dignity, decorum and decency in our politics’?

This is not to say that it was all nice before. These characteristics of a civilized polity have been witnessing a progressive decline for the last few decades but this time the situation appears alarming.

Whoever may win or lose the current general elections but the scene is getting muddied at a disturbing pace as the days pass as never before.

Not a day passes without the leaders and campaigners of different parties making unbecoming remarks against their opponents.

Levelling charges is another matter. Making true or untrue charges has been an accepted game at the time of elections, at least in the post-Nehruvian period.

All the concerned as well as the general public were used to take them in their stride, since everyone knew it to be mostly untrue intended to impress the voters.

A few remarks of bad taste together with such charges also were made but ignored.

What is to be noted is that this kind behaviour has suddenly hit a new low in the current elections and looks bewildering.

Even more disturbing is the top rung leadership, beginning from the very Prime Minister of country to the levels of chief ministers and presidents of parties indulging in making unpleasant comments one against the other.

Since they all are there over the media it needs no repetition here. The question that needs to be pondered over is why things have come to such a pass and such a fast pace.

The related question is what is in store for the future. It is clear that increasing desperation for power and related intolerance on the part of all the concerned is at the root of this behavioural degeneration.

It is seen in a glaring manner particularly since the top national leadership also is not feeling shy of indulging in the dirty game.

Especially noted in this respect is what the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been saying and doing over the recent weeks.

Some one officiating in that position is expected to be very dignified, tolerant and restrained even in the face of provocations.

But, on the contrary he himself has been provoking his opponents almost on a daily basis. This no Prime Minister of the country has done before. One cannot say he does not know what he is doing. It is not difficult to see that he has been doing it wantonly. But why is the question.

The BJP has come to the power for the first time on its own majority.

Similarly Modi, after being a state level leader for a few decades, has unexpectedly attained the position of national level chief executiveship.

It may be that after enjoying power for a full five-year term both the BJP and Modi are in no mood to forego it under any circumstances.

Added to this the Sangh Parivar, which clearly sees an opportunity to spread its ideology, which in fact has been smelling some success in that direction by polarizing society, will not like the political power to slip from its hands.

Thus it is in the interest of all the three elements to come back to power once again.

If it is seen that the opportunity is coming their way with no
hindrances, and basing on the 2014-19 governance, they should be feeling no stress in that respect.

But the Northern and Western electoral base of BJP, which gave it overwhelming numbers last time, is strongly suspected to be under stress this time, with no relief available in South India.

This dire situation may be driving BJP and Modi into behave in this unprecedented manner, with intention of polarizing society and provoking ‘nationalist’ and ‘religious’ sentiments among people.

Belittling opponents with unbecoming charges and remarks may only be an extension of it. All the same, what will be the ill-effects of all this on Indian polity and culture is the worrisome concern.(Photo credits NDTV)