There is a sea of foam of multiple soaps all around, working simultaneously in India’s grand democratic circus. No doubt, there is an urgent need for soaps that can clear the stains of the rotten system but what is offered are either electoral so(a)ps or soap operas.
It all started with the self-declared anarchist Kejriwal. He came with a bang and created hope for cleansing. After running away from the responsibility of governance, for reasons which only he knows, ‘not resigned to be PM’ was his statement in his first public interview. His freebies on water and power were so badly executed that some of them could not stand in the Court of Law. Taking a clue from the Congress President, that projecting as sacrificial goat creates a bigger soap opera than actual performance, he made Jan Lokpal an issue of life and death and geared up for the Lok Sabha poll. In the greed of performing on the larger stage, he missed out the opportunity of cleaning the system at a smaller level.
Congress, consisting of highly experienced directors and actors in last minute theatrics, has come up with many dramatic shows, some without lights. Starting with increased number of household cylinders, one rank-one pension for armed forces personnel, scandalously successful division of Andhra and reducing excise duty on consumer goods, everything was dramatically scripted to make Gandhi scion as a fighting hero. Now backstage artists are thinking of adopting Ordinance route to clear six anti-graft bills. This is more to come out of nightmares of losing ground for the dynastic inheritor rather than realising the dream of graft-free system. Whether he did not exist for the last nine years or he suddenly discovered the art of playing to the gallery, only script writers can tell. What were the hiccups for last nine years, that Telangana became central theme of the drama, and not women’s reservation or judicial accountability, are some of the questions in the minds of mute spectators.
State level theaters are not lagging behind in stormy performances with an eye on the big award function of 2014. Omar Abdulla suddenly realised that panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir needs to be strengthened and new administrative units are required. He made a dramatic posture by releasing mega plan for higher education and declaring “Kashmir” as the “world famous tourist destination”. Many amendments are proposed to the J&K constitution, which has become villainous due to misuse and misinterpretation of Article 370. Rashtriya Lok Dal, which has lost its face by eloping with Congress in UP, has now put many actresses of popular Hindi movies to shame by performing in indecent protests in favour of Sugar Cane growers. Ruling SP has responded timely through more crude comments by their star performer Azam Khan and adopting budgetary measures on power, roads and water. The worst kind of populism was visible in Tamil Nadu where the ruling party outperformed the original supporter of Tamil nationalism by declaring immediate release of the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, which was subsequently stayed by the Apex Court. This move can fetch some votes in sensitive state politics but harm the anti-terror policies of the nation.
There is a long saga of so(a)ps, strangely combining hiccups of many years, with hangama for short term gains, ultimately resulting in last minute harakiri. It is true that people want ‘change’ and they are looking for some ‘hope’. Conventional politics of last minute so(a)ps is not going to provide change and hope does not mean anarchy. The Nation requires an integrated serious approach of a melodrama which only experienced actors can perform. Disgraceful ways of creating vote banks or petty attempts of creating disorder for short term gains can only create a sea of foam, beneath which lie a slippery ground for anarchy.