stop all this

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Jun 2018 12:30:59

EVERYBODY will agree with Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi that Emergency of 1975 was a ‘sin’ of the Congress party, and to that extent something no democracy ever should allow. But who will agree with Union Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley who went to the extent of likening Mrs. Indira Gandhi, who imposed Emergency on the country, to German supremo Adolf Hitler? This was one comparison that Mr. Jaitley should have avoided at any cost. For, it is totally unacceptable a comparison, a completely undesirable an argument -- that Mrs. Indira Gandhi went one step further than Hitler did by establishing her family rule, which the German supremo could not do. This is a very wrong interpretation of history and Mr. Jaitley should have avoided it at all costs. 

The world knows that it was Adolf Hitler who imposed a World War (II) on the humanity, the catastrophe that claimed more than 1.5 million lives. Driven by mad obsession about purity of Aryan race, he ordered a purge that eliminated as many as six million (60 lakhs) Jews through concentration camps, gas chambers, wanton shooting and every other possible evil act. With this historical reality, can anyone ever liken Mrs. Indira Gandhi to Hitler? Obviously, Mr. Jaitley went overboard in his enthusiasm to make his statement eye-catching.
Already aware that a crushing defeat is staring it in the face in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party has been making absolutely undesirable comments involving Mr. Narendra Modi and his regime. The ungainly attack on Mrs. Gandhi by Mr. Jaitley has added fuel to the fire and now the Congress party has started likening Mr. Modi to Mughal ruler Aurangzeb who, it alleged, was a despotic king. Indian people do not deserve such a political mud-slinging by two leading political parties. All this must be stopped immediately in larger interest of democracy.

There is no doubt that Emergency slapped on the country by Mrs. Indira Gandhi was completely undesirable as it subverted fundamental rights of the citizens. It is also equally true that countless thousands of people were put behind bars for mostly unclear reasons because that suited the ruling party of that time, the Congress. But it was also equally true that just within 19 months, Mrs. Indira Gandhi opted for elections and faced a humiliating defeat, which she accepted “unreservedly”, to quote her own word. But even as contemporary Indian history made a note of that dark event, it also recorded for posterity that in less than three years, Mrs. Indira Gandhi was elected by the same people who had shown her the door. In such a case, how can someone liken Mrs. Indira Gandhi to Hitler?

Of course, Mr. Jaitley would certainly insist thathis comparison was restricted only to one aspect -- the rule of one family. That argument has little meaning, since no one can make such a limited comparison between two iconic world figures that lived and worked in different times. It is very unfortunate that some of our leaders are tempted to indulge in such ungainly comparisons that hurt even non-partisan people as they distort historical reality.
Even as we recognise the fact that the country will go to Lok Sabha polls in less than a year from now, and that political parties will indulge in making all sorts of statements about their rivals even though they may not adhere to truth. Despite this, we cannot agree with any effort to take mud-slinging to such a ridiculous level -- either by the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Congress or any other political outfit. It is the urgent need of the hour to ensure that all this dirty mud-slinging is stopped immediately so the people have the benefit of a clear-headed, intelligent, bi-partisan discourse leading to a healthy churning of ideas for the ultimate and democratic benefit of the people at all levels. May such a discourse invite contrarian views to be expressed in all seriousness and intensity. May this discourse accuse the other party of failing in its mandated duty. But may such a discourse not take the ugly turn as it is now threatening to do.

In this sacred space, we have often blasted the Opposition parties for taking stands and making statements that conform to no sane thought. In the same vein, we find it necessary to caution the ruling party as well that the statements of some of its leaders may not gel well with the flow of sanity and dignity. Hence our request: Please stop all this mud-slinging, and please take to arguing with dignity, decorum, decency and discipline. Please do not demean the rivals in such an undesirable fashion. Let us not overlook the fact that the current mud-slinging in the political arena has assumed a dangerous overtone that may obliterate right thought and right action. It is because of this sole reason that we insist that Indian people deserve a different and healthier political narrative so that they can make up their mind about what to do when it comes to voting in the summer of 2019.

Let us also not overlook another reality that because of the nonsensical tirade of the Opposition parties, the country’s political narrative is assuming an altogether unacceptable shape and sound. This also needs to be avoided at all costs. In order to avoid this, the political community of the country will have to do some clear-headed thinking beyond petty political dimensions. Once the politicians do that, they will start realising the importance of avoiding the nonsense in which they are now indulging.

In a cultured society, this should not be a tall order. But in our current condition when politics has taken precedence over prudence in almost all aspects of public life, thinking in a sane manner may become a very difficult task. But then, don’t we all agree that if a society has to rise to the next level of cultural refinement, then it must try the difficult? Our request for stopping insane statements by one and all without any pride or prejudice stems from this awareness that we need a more clear-headed public discourse so that our democracy flourishes to become a system that delivers the goods in the best interest of all stake-holders -- from its Capitals to the far corners of the country.