Wave and Landslide

Results of India’s latest elections are further proof of Mammon’s power over a nation’s mind and collective memory, and of how easily the deities of lucre can be invoked to befuddle reason and cloud judgement. The Indian circumstance may have craved for change, but that the masses would opt for any change speaks of their desperation at the repeated squandering of mandates showered liberally on once-upon-a-time liberators and lately on messiahs of the downtrodden. The priesthood India inherited from its freedom movement had not taken long to degenerate into a behemoth of pilferage and patronage, a creed replicated and refined several times over by its challengers from the social netherworld who now keep it company in electoral ignominy.

No amount of hectoring about India’s politics transcending the caste and class calculus can hide its further communalisation cleverly woven into questionable claims of development and governance. Or that development and governance had come to be identified with a single individual despite the same party boasting at least two chief ministers with perhaps a better record on both.  Evidently, future aspirants to the Prime Minister’s office – some constitutional inconveniences still leave room to foresee a future – would henceforth ensure credentials generously punctuated with sanguinary exploits justifiable through the laws of classical physics.

What began with a statement of Newton’s third law over a decade ago has now turned into a vivid demonstration of his other two postulates as well, both with respect to momentum as well as inertia. An “aspirational generation” is hardly expected to know the difference between the two when the one signifies stock-market indices and the other the minimum agricultural wage in high-growth states. For, the latter rarely makes it to the generation’s intellectual stimuli mainly comprised of facebook posts and twitter declarations written in incredibly bad grammar: which explains why this aspirationally-oriented human resource, supposed to propel India into superpowerdom, has never taken to the likes of the erudite Jaswant Singh, nor had any misgivings at the entire ilk being dumped unceremoniously as  junk, but voted overwhelming approval for lumpen exhortations of “revenge” and crude analogies of canines and car tyres. Given the premium on growth, it is surprising that this aspirationist narrative has failed to ask whether the puppies ought to be “pedigreed” and the tyres “tubeless.”

The forces that have ridden to power in India on a wave and a landslide come with an impressive resume – the liquidation of the Father of the Nation topping the list. Synthesising history, saffronizing curricula, parachuting into parliament on the wings of a lie, pitting faith against the constitution – a long list of parallels with goings-on in the immediate neighbourhood – signify a few other credits they have notched up in their visceral quarrel with the founders’ syncretic design. Today, they have what had eluded them for six decades. A majority. How long before they insist it is majoritarian?