Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Intelligent Oxymoron: Indian Political Activism

The ongoing feud in the Election Commission notwithstanding, the news of the general elections being held in the near future has brought about a cynical excitement to those who love and hate Indian politics – both at the same time. It would be fair to say that anyone from the News Media Industry would fall into this category ;of those – who love and hate Indian Politics - all in the same breath. There is an intelligentsia of our society which just loves to hate politics, these are the lot that cannot stand the so called stink of our polity; yet if there is one thing they cannot stop talking about - sure enough its politics. I wonder if its typical Indian shamelessness but I have to admit that I am a part of such a group.

Scathing criticism which I often reserve for the political class, somehow today seems to be directing itself to my own inner being. Not for being a critic but rather for being a critic who knows only to criticize. If there are a zillion politicians in our nation, there are a zillion others like me… who at best can criticize, and at worse can do little to change the situation for the best. Hell, there are none who would do something to change – for the worse or better is a thing of later.

Sitting in A/c office suites, wearing pristine silk suits, swishing the pen about the newsprint (haven't you heard pen is mightier than a sword…)... Screaming injustice and corruptness of the politicians into the camera, filling the blogsphere (just as I am) with ideals and contrasting how 'bad' the political class is - this is the elite intelligentsia of the great nation of India sadly though, have at best an abysmal record of bringing actual change in our social and political system.

Six decades of being an Independent Republic and one with a society that's as politically active as ours… its amazing to realize that we still grapple with the same issues of political injustice as we did in the nascent stages of our nation.


It's a question that baffles me… not because of the enormity of task which would be required to answer it but the emptiness that comes along with the question itself. The inevitable inexplicability of it is as startling as the question itself. Given the numbers of critics of our political class, it would not be inappropriate to think that even if half of these were to 'make' change rather than just 'preach' change... our graph of social & political progress would be much steeper than what it is.

I am not one to condemn political activism or an active political society... what I do hate is the hollow, only-talk-and-little-action activists that we have reduced ourselves to. What’s required is not a society full of politically-opionionated-self-aclaimed pundits... but we need more of those who are willing to throw themselves into the dirt of politics, get their hands dirty and yet keep their conscience clean. The problem today is that on one hand we have netas who don’t care being dirty - in everyway possible... and on the other hand we have a class of elite intelligentsia who only care about making noises and making them loud and big.

These loud noises can create a din... but do little to ruffle the khadii-clad-thicker-than-buffalo -skinned neta... We have enough political heads scrutinizing every political scandal... what we need are shoulders which can burden the change which is required; feet that are willing to walk the talk; and hands that are willing to carry out an idea in action rather than just on the paper/in camera/on the blogs/ etc etc...

If India has to produce its own Obama... we need to realize that they are not born over night by having great ideals... but they are made in the process of carrying out ideals in action.

Having said all this, I just don’t want to be a finger pointer.. rather I am guilty of the same offence which thus far I have argued against... I am convicted of my own conscience... and I suffer of my own guilt...

Beyond the sadness of this reality lies the hope of a 'Change' ... just as Obama said a few months ago – a ‘Change We Can Believe In’... ‘cos its one that’s a Change which is not thrust down my throat but one that should come from within.

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