The Sanguinarian

The Sanguinarian

Saturday, 30 May 2015

The Devil's Advocate- An ( entirely unconvincing) tale of two PMs

A funny thing- as in sardonically funny thing- is happening in politics, as usual.
The current PM invited the ex-PM to discuss 'economics' recently.
This is being hailed, as usual, as an instance of the broad outlook of the new PM, in choosing to forget old enmities and the fact that Dr. Singh is from an opposition party and embrace him with open arms to effect development.
After the new PM humiliated the ex-PM ruthlessly last year, calling him 'Maun-mohan Singh' and plenty of other untenable things. Constantly demeaning him and his party, his policies, his work, his character, badmouthing him in front of NRIs.
As lousy as a politician Dr. Singh maybe, he is someone who didn't deserve such words- an intellectual, a decent man, a reticent man who cannot be provoked easily, who chose not to go down to his opponent's level as a last ditch attempt when his party was losing. Yeah, election fever makes candidates say things about one another- dirty things. But there is a limit. The new PM, when he was a PM candidate, made things personal. He said things about Dr. Singh in front of national media, humiliating him. In the process, the new PM proved himself unfit for such a high public office by behaving so belligerently and letting his tongue run amock.
And then, in front of the media, he calls the man he badmouthed endlessly to discuss 'economics'. And the ex-PM went.
Funny thing. Sardonically funny.

The Devil's Advocate- On caste politics.

Am reading articles on caste-ism and casteist politics for the past two days.
One was on gay rights activist Harish Iyer's mom's matrimonial ad, praised for its forwardness in acknowledging her son's sexuality but slammed for its 'Iyer preferred' tag.
Another was on caste politics and identity in rural and urban areas of India.
Third was on how a particular community in Rajasthan has successfully arm-twisted the state government into making special reservations for it in jobs and education.
1 Well, first of all, I think targeting Mrs. Iyer was needless and wrong. She may have written that last part as a joke.
2. What Ms. Iyer did is innocuous compared to the kind of shenanigans by groups who identify themselves solely by their 'caste' or their 'gotra' or their 'jaat', and force the government to make political concessions for them. Like what's happening in Rajasthan right now.
3. Reservation. The biggest bone of contention in the Indian public consciousness. It has far-reaching consequences which include students not getting a seat in colleges based on merit because it has been alloted to a student on the basis of their caste. Or how students who come through reservation even to premier medical and technical institutes suffer discrimination by the 'General' category students. This evil which is dividing the public and destroying the social fabric.
4. But why did reservation come up? Would the so called 'reserved caste' have to fight for their slots if they had not been discriminated for centuries because they're a 'lower caste'. We all know how caste politics- upper caste, lower caste- has led to oppression of people just for being born in a certain caste. Don't they have the right to education, to a career, to a decent life? Why won't the politicians use this history of discrimination as fuel for reservation and vote- bank politics?
5. If reservations have to go away, CASTE must be ABOLISHED. That is the ONLY solution to end reservations, its resulting tension and ensure everyone gets equality. Which is a pipe dream.
6. Why? Because , as much as the new government keeps talking about 'development', it forgets that caste-ism is inimical to overall development. A society split on caste identity can never develop- because people will always be held back, or favored over others, for belonging to a particular. Plus, a government who has come to power using caste politics ( especially in UP) must know this, right?