• #WhatVotersWant: A transformed politics of love

    Ananya Guha

    May 10, 2019

    The narrative surrounding the Indian polity is becoming murkier. It is undoubtedly election and vote driven. The point, however, is that it has reached a new nadir. Never before has a body politic been so coarse and vulgar in its accusations and counter-accusations. But the accusation is one thing and name-calling is another. Personal attacks tarnish not only the person at the receiving end but the body politic and the image of a country. It’s true that the elections are on. It is also true that the ruling party is desperate to come back to power. And it is true that the opposition parties are hoping for victories at the regional level. So, while alliances are piecemeal, each political party says what it wants to, including maligning women and “warning” minorities. Majoritarian issues such as Hindu fundamentalism is once again a trump card. The apex court dithers between pandering to the authorities and attempting to desperately maintain the objectivity required of it. The Model Code of Conduct is repeatedly violated, while the Election Commission of India always seems to respond a little too late when it does at all.

    Debates on what is nationalism and secularism are falling to new depths.  What has transpired in political history is conveniently forgotten or re-written. This leaves us to deal with years of misrule, sectarianism, and attacks on the Constitution

    The needs of citizens, especially the working classes are forgotten, yet they are courted for votes. What will they do in such a situation, whom will they vote for?

    In such a situation, only a people’s movement, which can transcend politics, is the solution. One that will be the voice and conscience of a nation irrespective of caste, class and education. History has become an inversion, it is the geography of a mindset that we must change by locating inner qualities of dispassion, probity and rectitude. While the politicians are failing us, yet we cannot fail ourselves. 

    A people’s movement will involve the masses, the educated and the supposedly illiterate. Why are the likes of Anna Hazare keeping quiet now, since they were the ones who initially orchestrated such a movement? 

    Narratives do go through processes of conflict. Indian society is today going through such a painful process, where the past and even a historical edifice is under severe question. Compassion and dispassion are lesser archetypes today. The archetypal voice is one of malfeasance and hatred. Corruption is not only financial; it is the mind and the spirit which are corrupted.

    To change the narrative is to rework history. To rework history is to voice a silent protest. And for this, elections or no elections, the vote should always be for the poor and the oppressed, accessibility towards health and education. The politicisation of everything including the plight of farmers is the bane of Indian society. Can’t we look towards a goal beyond abject politics and the dystopia utopia dialectic? Only then, will be able to look at ground realities and the plight of the weak and the scoured. 

    After the elections are over some will come to power, but what about the powerless? What about the millions whose daily bread is at stake, who have no roofs above their heads, whose homes are the promontories of open roads? How do we transform political power into the power of love and compassion and make the two compatible that?

    However, the crucial concern today is not so much the outcome of the elections, but the polemics of secularism, or the idea of nationalism, that got lost in jingoism. Crores are spent on a statue, when in fact, building shelters for the homeless should be a nation’s immediate concern. We need to move beyond tokenism and effectuate a transformed politics of love.

    This is a part of a series What Voters Want, where young voters talk about what in their view, is at stake in this General Election.

    Ananya S Guha is a writer based in Shillong. He works at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) as a senior academic.

    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the writer's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Indian Writers' Forum.

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