Theatrical Democracy – Perspective of a Frustrated Indian

By Bhavya

Criticising or celebrating someone is something I must not do, as a young adult who is still building her opinions; my opinions are still wayward, impressionable and radical. I feel that if I want to participate in this democracy, I need to have a complete idea of what goes on, who makes everything run, who mobilizes people and resources and so on and so forth. It is never that complex – that depends upon how much aware the person is – but something about this entire structure is greatly disturbing.

 

Wake up in the morning, and skim through all that the newspaper has to offer you, and there are just so many things going on and you try to read everything possible, but then you are running out of time. If you are good at skimming, you will probably realise that, on an average day, most of the pieces are just songs and dances about something that somebody said who might not even matter in next six months, how people lost their minds and burnt a bus or anything that came first into their vision after losing their minds, and then there are more depressing things, which render you with a feeling of hopelessness, and helplessness – rape, murder, fraud, demonstrations and the related.

 

Reading editorials is somewhat relieving because it renders you a sense of relief – somebody is at least giving all these things some though. But then most of them, on an average day, save some exceptions, talk about things that you have heard about earlier, and it has all become so redundant.

 

The problem here is not newspapers, or pieces of news themselves. I am not dismissing them and calling them vain or pointless or something people shouldn’t bother themselves with. This period of time, this particular decade, has been very happening, and every day you see something new. But, there is a sense of detachment and irritation with political scenario in general – a revolutionary party you thought would bring in some freshness into the monotony of older parties insulting each other can’t seem to let go of populist measures of demonstrations even though they now form the government; some politician the other ‘destructive’ and ‘the worst choice ever’; some MNC, like the other one some other day, talking about India’s potential, sticking to a single, absurd tradition since the day we liberalized back in 1991 – that is more than twenty years now, isn’t it? A process of forging and formation of a collective political opinion is underway, now that elections are quite close.

 

Now, there won’t be any point talking about how desperately we need some change, some breakthrough in the intellectual space in this political structure. There is a sort of stagnation in our political space. It might be expecting too much out of our leaders, but just for once, I would like somebody to think about where this country is going very seriously, and talk about what he or she do about it, for instance, a leader who spoke about strengthening the defence of the country, exploiting the potentials of and financing organizations like DRDO, and so on.

 

There are things that this country desperately needs and some people just couldn’t get over the over-hyped issue of women empowerment. Very honestly, I am tired of hearing about it, and if people were actually serious about getting women stronger, there would have been a visible change.

 

Then comes the most defining feature of Indian democracy – theatrical presentations by everyone about everything – politicians, people, media personnel and a few others who would like to participate in this ultimate circus. Measures meant to appease people being discussed everywhere; some people suddenly found out how much impassioned people have become about corruption after religion and partisanship and decided to inflate the hype. Why can’t just someone talk about how important it is for us to secure our borders? How can we make law enforcement institutions more effective? How can economic and infrastructural development overcome geographical obstacles in the north east? Have we taken an official stance on the Syrian civil war? Is the Japan military aircraft deal going to do us any good?

 

Why are we so much fixated with just one thing that seems to be entertaining everyone? That’s suffocating, greatly suffocating. We need to have a proper flow of ideas and thoughts and debates about things that matter, things that affect us as a nation. Someone might point it out, “But the elections are so very important. Can’t you see? We might have a whole new government! It might change a lot.”

 

Well, priorities of nation and priorities of a party are two different things. They affect each other, but shouldn’t we have common goals as people of one country and have some common aspirations? Even if we do, shouldn’t we talk about those, rather than some party’s strategy and deciding if it’s practicing participatory democracy or representative democracy?

 

Again, these are important, but please, can I have a break here? It’s tiring to see the same thing performed over and over again by the same people everyday. Each statement being pored over as if it’s the most important thing ever. No, they aren’t that important. It has become a tradition, it seems. Listen to the speech, pass comments that are necessary, have a debate. There’s not point celebrating it or its flaws or its benefits, and if there is, kindly celebrate it within your circles or yourself – there’s no need to impose it on other people. Please pass over the mic to someone who can remove this air of stagnation, clear up the choked up debates and arguments over some person’s strategies by both politicians and media personnel, and bring in some fresh air.

 

A bit of space is what a politically frustrated Indian needs now.

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