Writing on politics in India is a scavenger’s job; you can write only about dirty deeds of unprincipled people. The very word ‘politics’ has lost its original meaning to acquire a bad connotation. When one conspires or manipulates, one is supposed to be “playing politics”. Journalists think only ‘politics’ – who is stabbing whom in the back, who is pulling whose legs – is news. Even those who are disgusted with it and choose fields like sports or science have to cover politics there; ‘politics’ has become all-pervasive.
All political reporting is about parties which have sacrificed all values, principles and ideologies and have the single-point goal of coming to power and retaining it, about palace coups within parties, about people called ‘leaders’ who only follow — doing what the mob wants, even if wrong. Populism and evils like casteism, parochialism and use of money and muscle power are accepted as “electoral compulsions”, even by parties which once swore by principles.
What can a political analyst write about today?
On how a loyal good man, frustrated and grumbling about being always ignored in favour of dynasty members has been ‘kicked up’ into the Rahstrapati Bhavan as he cannot be kicked out?
On how one becomes a President or Governor not for any merit or erudition, but as reward for loyalty to ruling family or for nuisance value and ability to needle the rulers if not ‘rehabilitated’?
On how goondas posing as leaders work up mob emotions on issues which should be sorted out across the table and in the interests of the majority, irrespective of their language. religion or caste? On how these ‘leaders’ remain unscathed, grow rich and live comfortably in palacial properties even as the people whom they incite to violence lose lives or limbs or get locked up?
On how “people’s representatives” waste time in Parliament and legislatures on dharnas, freebies for themselves and trivial issues like a decades-old cartoon, naming of universities/projects or even more frivolous matters, but have no time to pass the Lokpal or Women’s Reservation Bills or laws to benefit children, dalits (who they swear by) and disabled?
On how ‘leaders’ of a party which criticisie rivals for corruption or illegal activities and “foreign jaunts”, themselves face corruption charges, get arrested or go on pleasure trips abroad with hangers on? On how they spend hundreds of crores of tax-payers’ money on ads to promote temselves while basic services suffer?
On how a CM spends crores on helicopter-hopping, poojas, homas and prostrating before pontiffs, ignoring draught and more urgent issues?
On how a leader with prime ministerial dreams prefers to be a puppet Chief Minister controlled by a disqualified politician and allows a wanted criminal ‘welcome’ a muder accused on bail, giving him a VIP treatment?
On how Union Carbide’s Andersons, Bofors’ Quattarochis and the corrupt with secret Swiss bank accounts are protected by leaders who then demand a probe into an anti-corruption crusaders’ money but refuse to reveal where their own party’s millions came from?
On how those responsible for a deplorable massacre of members of one community charge rivals –just to get a community’s votes– with (equally deplorable) genocide, but use their own power to escape prosecution while the rivals faced scores of cases and tet their own members go to jail?
On how politicians, film stars and gold-and-diamond merchants – all of them contributing little to the society — have become millionaires with political patronage while farmers who produce the food we live on are driven to suicide?
On how a ‘son of the soil’ who could spend crores on world tours for his extended family despite being a ‘poor farmer’, found only three billionaires of the state to choose a Rajya Sabha candidate from?
On how a company can lend money to the close kin of the ruling dynasty to buy land and then buy the same land from him at many times the price just a few days later or on how a government-allotted land worth hundreds of crores is ‘sold’ by politician-trustees to themselves for a paltry sum?
The list can be unending. The pen may be mightier than the sword, or the (key)board stronger than the bomber, but a journalist has to use it as a toilet brush to clean up the dirt spread by politicians.
Journalists who want to stop writing on politics and turn to human issues are, however, condemned to be considered “useless” non-entities.