Disclaimer: Originally published in March 2018. It is being republished since it still remains an interesting topic till today.
Politics demand the strength to defy moral rules in order to ‘win’. When activists, leaders and supposed social reformers enter the quagmire that is politics, they are filled with idealism, they live in utopia.
Leaders like Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, although have tremendous idealism in them, stoop low in order to woo people and to get things done.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election tour for the UP Legislative Elections used the infamous Kabristan-Shamshaan issue to lure the Hindu voters.
During an election rally in Meghalaya, he said “it was the BJP government which had rescued nurses from Iraq and brought them safely to Kerala. They all were Christians.”
PM Modi’s woo-mechanism is not restricted to election campaigns. He plays with the government apparatus too. In 2014, right after massively winning the Lok Sabha elections, he got an Ordinance promulgated to amend the TRAI Act in order to appoint Nripendra Mishra his principal secretary, who as the chief of TRAI was barred from holding that office.
Amending national legislation to fulfill one’s personal comfort is often the greatest mark of a dictatorial attitude.
Modi is often accused of promoting Sangh’s ideology and pushing it too much. The Sangh Parivar constitutes almost all of BJP leaders and Ministers. So it is only fair that the government would have to return the favour when in power.
Similarly, Arvind Kejriwal has had his share of clever crooked mild dictatorship while serving as the patriarch of Aam Admi Party and later in his reign as Chief Minister of Delhi.
Since its inception, AAP has seen plenty of members being kicked out of the party, the most shocking being the ouster of Bhushan and Yogendra who worked day and night for the party’s success.
Later, after forming the government, Kejriwal, in order to reward his newly-elected MLAs and also to hold on to them, appointed 21 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries and subsequently amended the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to exclude the post from the definition of ‘office of profit’. But all went in vain when the Election Commission disqualified them.
It was alleged by people, including people within the party, that Kejriwal’s choice of new AAP members in the Rajya Sabha was based on the amount of money he received. This speculation appears to be close to the truth as AAP lacks appropriate funds and choosing a candidate for money seems extremely convenient.
And no party can run without money, especially a newly formed party of political novices.
This just goes on to prove that resorting to unfair practices is a part and parcel of winning or even trying to win.
Here, one can draw a parallel between Krishna in Mahabharat and Indian politicians. Krishna firmly believed that once you make the fateful decision to go to war, you must win at any cost. Which roughly translates into “the only thing that matters is the victory.”
In Mahabharat, Duryodhana severely criticises Krishna for breaking the dharma and not following rules of war. On similar lines, Gurcharan Das in his book The Difficulty of Being Good has written
“What if good persons, who have excellent reasons to wage a war, can only win it by unfair means? In that case, how can one think of them as ‘good persons’?”
But Krishna in the Hindu epic is THE GOD. If it is permissible for him to focus on the ends and not the means, then these politicians are merely mortal humans.
Lies, tricks, and deceit are what Krishna employed to make Pandavas win the war. His most famous sentence, which still resonates across the world, was “a lie is permissible when it is for a greater good.”
So does ends justify the means? Gandhi answers this in negative. But Gandhi was yet another Utopian who had never stepped inside the government machinery.
Moreover, both Kejriwal and Modi are publicly held good persons who came into the forefront to make the country a better place. They ought to do that, at any cost.
They have a battle to win. And who better to take inspiration from than Lord Krishna.
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