Why isn’t it easy for our political parties to negotiate to be able to form a stable government in which opposition parties and critics too could largely trust or desist from mudslinging? Even if they do succeed in forming one, isn’t it going to be ever under strain? Aren’t all parties uneasy bedfellows when it comes to sharing power? I am not going to answer these questions – we know them anyway – but transpose these questions to domestic sphere. Seeing the stalemate in domestic politics of home where only a few family members tied by blood relationships I have no surprises to be shocked by any arrangement that ensues and that have ensued in our history by different permutations and combinations in politics. If we are so divided at family level, if there is difficult to find the undisputed leader or trust in a leader at home level (most of us don’t practically buy the thesis inherited from our tradition that husbands are leaders (qawamoon?), if most mothers-in-law have grudges against daughters-in-law and vice versa, if parents have reasons to be cynical about return of gratitude they deserve from children and children complain that parents don’t really remember when they were at our stage and force their choices on us or some similar complaints of which the list is endless from both sides, if we find conflict on almost every stage from choice of school to choice of mate and career and our homes seem mostly transplanted from hell, how come we expect our leaders who have to “lead” so many people of diverse and conflicting interests to be able to be friends or behave decently. No profession other than politics requires almost daily dose of mudslinging or curses but let us not forget that in our homes we are accustomed to here choicest and wildest curses or abuses.
Our houses are designed to generate ill-will or conflict because we hardly keep in consideration the rights of God, of neighbour, of environment while adding stories to already too big houses, using material for construction that needlessly harms the environment, discouraging local products that have a history of being pro-environment and cost effective. We advertise our wealth or better our pathologies of ego or narcissism while building houses. We don’t welcome guests or strangers – gone is the tradition when we would go for days if not weeks to our relatives. Friends, we longer invite for nights. We ideally require guests to stay outside in the space of compound or reluctantly let them in and asking him to stay for night if not nights (our tradition requires that for three days even strangers are not asked about whereabouts – they are just served in mahmaan khana we no longer know what it used to be). Are our houses designed for better dealing with winters? Do we ever bother that our neighbour shouldn’t suffer from inferiority complex from our lavish display or raising too big a house he can’t afford? In those houses that in their form don’t recall God but the Devil of Ego and vanity, that are often constructed from misappropriated money (our houses now resemble more and more places not for living but for other purposes and cost so much that almost a mohalla could previously be housed at the same cost) how can good will flourish? In the space that has been created from tears and sighs of many customers including underpaid labourers, no ethics can allow ten fold difference in salaries of professors or officers and labourers–one can grant at best two or three fold difference keeping in consideration special skills of white collared jobs – we have been exploiting, bossing, bullying, how can souls and hearts be at peace.
We are, generally speaking failures in domestic politics. We can’t run a home, keep parents, children and spouse happy, and can’t resist torturing saas or bahu or zaam etc. We are daily engaged in some conflict. We can’t enter into a dialogue with our partner and wish to dictate. We don’t offer food to strangers. We don’t invite neighbours for a lunch or tea. We are disgruntled, abusive, greedy, egotistical, formal. We don’t know how to live happy family lives. And we wonder about rot in our parliament houses or political houses..