I want to cite in this column the number of stories or instances of how ethics is ceasing to be a factor in the functioning of India’s national media (TV, print and social). The media is getting increasingly partisan, its main focus shifting from pointing out facts to building perceptions.
It is the early days, but then there is an unmistakable impression that is gaining ground all over that Modi is fast emulating Indira Gandhi. In her days of glory, Indira Gandhi was simply unchallengeable. Modi seems to be in a similar situation today.
There is an expression in Hindi, “Soney pey suhaga”, suhaga being the powder which makes gold shine. In a volatile social situation, where communal polarization is an electoral requirement until key state elections are out of the way, the Zawahiri slogan may have some short term advantages for the ruling party. It is perverse to say so but that is the way it is.
The controversy surrounding Rajnath Singh and his son being called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and confronted with evidence of “improper conduct” is refusing to die down. The details of the rumoured incident were already being discussed in the power circles even before the media started reporting about it.
The greatest security for the Gandhis, one which will keep them on their perch, is that there is no life left in the rump to ask questions. Those who could have asked questions, like Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, have been kept outside the paddock. The simple principle of dynasties is: the crown prince must not have a challenger. The queen must never be upstaged. Even for the job of the President of India she could only settle for the lackluster Pratibha Patil.
The Union Cabinet has 46 ministers. With the sole exception of Modi, the only other minister who can professionally handle his ministry is Dr. Harsh Vardhan as Minister for Health and Family Welfare.
For once, the illusion that the present elections were more about people than power has proved to be exactly that – an illusion, courtesy the election discourse! When candidates reek of non-accountability and brazenness even before elections, certainly the post-election scenario does not look hopeful. Whoever says that this was a watershed election for India (as the results do convey now), should have a look at the election discourse – for what it conveys is quite the opposite. Seems we have missed the bus again!
The evident dichotomy between ‘politics’ and ‘morality’ is what makes politics a despicable object. Morality is not supposed to be a part of politics – because politics is a far cry from the moral, the good, the valuable, the just. In fact, what politics and morality represent are binaries; the two cannot co-exist, nor reconcile. That is why the ‘good’ are never into politics and those who are in politics can never be ‘good’. Despite this glaring dichotomy, India’s Mandate 2014 has infused morality into the political discourse.
To a large extent, social media has also contributed to polarizing opinions in the present political discourse. It is on social media that political battle-lines are being drawn with heated pro and against contentions, counter contentions and a daily dose of political passions and emotions. It is as if the electoral battle has now moved from the ‘realpolitik’ domain to the social media space.